Critters and Conservation: Wildlife Conservation Day
2023 Parks and Recreation: A Year in Review
The winter doldrums affect the very best of us. It can be easy to just stay inside under a blanket bingeing Netflix. And while that does sound very enticing, it may not be the healthiest for your body (especially if you’re pairing it with lots of leftover Xmas cookies!) Keeping active in the winter doesn’t have to mean dragging yourself to the gym or investing in expensive workout equipment to avoid leaving the house. There are countless wintry activities that combine movement, socializing, and fun – so you don’t have to dread bracing the cold (and pausing Netflix). Let’s take a look at how to “sleigh” this winter by staying active and energized.
Ice Skate, You Skate, We All Skate
Ice skating isn’t solely for holiday activities, despite what Rockefeller Center’s rink may have you believe. As long as water can still freeze, skates can still be used! Gather some fearless friends, or the whole family, and take the blades out for a ride. Ice skating isn’t just great for your heart health (it keeps your blood pumping and boosts your adrenaline), it also is a great workout for those legs and glutes – so you can have fun and work on some of your New Year’s resolutions.
Pennsylvania’s local parks and recreation departments are abound with skating rinks, both indoor and outdoor. Our PA Park Finder has an “Ice Skating” filter – so no excuses! You can easily find a spot near you that features a rink. Or make a trip out of it! Parker Dam State Park is a great option for ice skating and sightseeing.
Don’t know how to skate? Why not learn! There are coaches throughout PA’s rec centers looking for proteges of any age. You may not get to the Olympics, but you will be getting active!
Drop Old Habits, Pick Up New Ones
Maybe you’ve been ice skating enough this season. That doesn’t mean you have to stay inside! There are plenty of winter sports you can learn that will not only bring health into your life, but excitement! Enjoy walking trails in the summer? Try snowshoeing in winter! Like going for runs in the warmer weather? How about skiing in the chillier temps? And fishing? There’s an ice version of that, too! Wherever your outdoor interests lie, there’s surely a winter sport that will give you the same rush.
Our PA Park Finder, on top of “Ice Skating,” features filters like ice fishing, downhill skiing, snowmobiling, sledding, and much more – so you can find parks with amenities that fit your interests.
Not interested in sports yourself? Why not stop by a rec center and catch an ice hockey game? While professional PA teams like the Flyers and the Penguins are great (plus, we love us some Gritty!), supporting local teams like the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, or even youth teams, is a great way to get out, be social, and support your community!
Make Winter a Classy Affair
Of course, when we say “classy,” we’re not talking about luxurious events – we’re talking about taking classes! If you’re not looking to bare the outdoors, but still want to stay active despite the cold, joining a class at your local recreation department is the best of both worlds! Break a sweat without bundling up! Plus, you’ll be joined by some company. Zumba is much more fun when you’re surrounded by others!
With the renewed spirit of New Years, it can be a great time to try something new that you’ve never done before. The Stuart Community Center in Carlisle offers Baton Twirling and Beekeeping courses, while Shenley Park offers Flower Arranging and Forest Bathing if you’re really looking to get down and dirty with nature!
Don’t Forget About Safety
Now that you’ve got some ideas, it’s important to remember to prepare appropriately when entering the cold, especially for longer periods of time! While winter workouts and movement have great health benefits, they could also be a detriment to your body if it is not done properly!
Before leaving the house: layer up! Comfort (and safety) should always come before showing off an outfit. UNIQLO’s HeatTech line of clothing is affordable and perfect for insulation during the chilliest of days. And don’t forget! Shoes with good traction are a must. If necessary, sporting ice cleats may be safest!
Finally, before trekking out into the cold, be sure to know the safest and surest way to cure frostbite – warm water (NOT hot), contrary to popular belief is the only way to go about it!
So even if you’re a homebody, there are plenty of ways to get out of the house this winter, meet new people, support your park and recreation, and get moving – without wishing you were bingeing Netflix under a blanket. Trust us, your body will surely thank you!