Man paddling with the icebergs in Southern Greenland

Top 5 Outdoor Activities to Spice Up Your Winter Months

Camping Fishing Hiking Skiing
January 3, 2020

It’s that season when the weather forecasters report temperature digits below your shoe size, and it may take anything to stop being a couch potato. As the outside world transforms into a magical area covered in frosty ice and fluffy snow, it’s only natural to feel like hibernating. However, sequestering yourself within your home is hardly the best step if you intend to feel any better.

Winter is the ideal time of the year to zoom down ski slopes, glide across an ice-skating rink, go fishing, or find a campsite. But most of us fail to take advantage of this season or believe that it is too cold to enjoy yourself outside your home. Outdoor activity during winter, however, turns out to be a healthy activity with lots of benefits.

Why you should go out during winter

Here’s how you will benefit from winter outdoor activities:

  • Increase your resting metabolism – You will experience speedier metabolism if you’re constantly exposing your body to the cold. Just an hour or two in the low-temperature environment helps burn more energy and fats.
  • The perfect cure for the ‘winter blues’ – If you get outside to enjoy the winter sunlight, you’ll significantly lowerwinter depression or seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Seeing sunlight during the shorter days could prevent you from feeling trapped inside. Furthermore, exercising releases adrenaline, epinephrine, and norepinephrine, which boost your mood.
  • More vitamin D – Apart from easing SAD symptoms, spending time in natural light allows the body to soak up vital rays for Vitamin D formation. This prevents heart attacks and improves conditions such as osteoporosis.
  • The healing power of nature – Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh found that when a spinal surgery patient is exposed to natural sunlight, they will experience lower levels of stress and pain. Another study (published in the Journal of Aging Health in 2008) further emphasizes how getting outside is beneficial as we age.
  • Fun with smaller crowds – This is the perfect time to take part in your sporting activities, camping, or hiking without the inconvenience of crowds that characterize the summer.

Let’s explore the best activities to enjoy during chilly weather:

Top five outdoor winter activities to try out

1. Fishing

Most anglers could also vouch that this is not the best time to grab your reel to catch some fish. However, fishing in the cold could benefit you in many other ways:

  • Lower temperatures and humidity make it more enjoyable
  • The sun is less extreme, hence a more fun experience
  • Fewer crowds make the experience more peaceful
  • You may find deals on the necessary gear
  • Who knows, you may catch Christmas dinner yourself!
Man fishing with mountains in the background

Fishing in winter. Photo by Jeremy Bishop.

For a successful fishing expedition during winter, begin by picking the right spot and the appropriate time to go. Then, you need to carry all the necessary equipment and choose the best bait to use. You can sprinkle some salt onto the bait to spice it up a little before beginning your fishing. While doing all these, always dress appropriately and consider safety first.

The best locations to go fishing include Miami (Florida), Galveston (Texas), San Diego California (Venice Louisiana), and Charleston (South Carolina).

2. Hiking

While most casual outdoor enthusiasts hang up their boots during fall and winter, nothing could be better than spending part of the season hiking. The trails have fewer crowds, and you can enjoy views that you may never come across during the summer. Imagine trekking your way through white-dusted fields so silent that it warms your soul. Plus, winter hiking:

  • Burns calories
  • Builds muscle
  • Has a lasting fat-burning effect

When hiking in winter, bring along snacks that you can eat without having to stop. You also need an insulated bottle sleeve alongside the right winter hiking clothing and a flask with a warm drink. Remember to hike with the sun, and go for uphill trails to get your blood flowing.

Some of the best destinations for this include Big Bend National Park, Mt. Hood, Canaveral National Seashore, Methow Valley, and the Grand Canyon National Park.

3. Camping

Most outdoor enthusiasts believe that summer camping is the best. However, doing it as the snow begins to flurry is just as fun. You can choose between snow-covered landscapes or a warmer southern-hemisphere camping site and still get to enjoy the vast benefits:

  • Alleviate SAD
  • Enjoy a mosquito-free camping experience
  • Soak up Vitamin D
  • Escape crowded campsites
  • Relish the solitude

5 Outdoor Winter Activities - Camping
When looking for the best campsite to spend part of your winter, consider several factors. First, choose areas with natural windbreaks like trees to protect you from the dangers of strong winds. Look for beautiful scenery for incredible photos but always account for avalanche risks. Finally, your site should have a reliable water source.

Some cool destinations include Snoqualmie National Forest and Mt. Baker in Seattle, California’s Joshua Tree National Park, Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas, and Grand Canyon National Park.

4. Kayaking

The activity is fun throughout the year and especially exciting during the cold winter months. The water and air may be cooler, but kayaking during this season offers a charm that most paddlers end up falling in love with. Here are some reasons why you should include it in your winter plans:

  • Improved cardiovascular fitness
  • Muscle strength in the torso and legs
  • Solitude and stunning scenery
  • Test your skills since it is more challenging during this season

You can access lots of helpful information about the sport online, in books, or in publications. However, you can learn how to paddle by joining a local club. Since the activity involves occasional dips into the water, you must be competent in swimming. Also, kayaking may be too expensive, so you should consider hiring or borrowing equipment first. Once you are certain that you enjoy paddling, then you can buy your own.

5. Skiing

Apart from hiking into the wilderness or finding peace through camping, skiing is among the most rewarding outdoor activities to try this winter. Heading to your local ski resort not only offers fun and beautiful scenery but some health benefits as well:

  • Burns calories
  • Strengthens lower body
  • Increase flexibility
  • Engages core muscles
  • Improves mental health and boosts the immune system
Person skiing during daytime.

Skiing at Gulmarg, India. Photo by Christian ter Maat.

Before embarking on your winter skiing adventure, plan your outfits accordingly. Mittens will keep your hands warmer than gloves, and don’t forget to cover your neck with a scarf or gaiter.

It is getting colder outside, but all these activities guarantee an exceptionally adventurous winter season.

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