You know how they say that orange is the new black, soda pop is the new cigarette, and The Rock is the new Schwarzenegger? Well, it turns out that 47 is the new 12.
OK, no one actually says that last one, but making it happen is still an awesome move. With a new study pegging 47 as the age when Canadians are least happy, finding ways to be a fun-loving kid again is great for shaking off the winter blues at any age and getting fit at the same time.
Thankfully, you don’t need a time machine or fountain of youth to relive the snowy fun of your childhood. Instead, try these free-and-easy activities whenever the temperature dips or the snow flies:
“I’m no good at tobogganing,” said no one ever. Unlike downhill skiing or ice skating, no special skills are required to climb a snowy hill, board a sled, and let gravity do the rest. You can try to steer, of course, but the Official Rules of Tobogganing* clearly state that it’s on everyone else to get out of the way. Your job: Hoot and/or holler as you hurtle downhill while holding on tightly to whoever is joining you. Note: If the other rider is your significant other, you can always impress them by pretending to steer. Now that’s hero material!
Climbing the hill may not be as thrilling as whizzing down, but it can deliver a surprising workout, depending on the size and steepness of the slope and the weight of your sled. Tobogganing can burn as many as 500 calories per hour.
*Just joking. There’s only one tobogganing rule: There are no rules!
Skating and shinny
A Canuck is walking down the street with a brand new hockey stick over his shoulder.
His buddy stops him and asks, “Hey bud, whatcha get that new stick for?”
“I got it for my wife,” the guy answers.
“Oh, good trade!” the friend says.
Whether it’s on a well-frozen pond or public rink, pleasure skating burns nearly 400 calories an hour. Grab a hockey stick and a helmet and whack a puck around with friends, family or total strangers — that’s how many Canadians roll — and that number can almost double. You shoot (and deke and pass), you score!
Making snowmen, snow angels and snow forts
Frosty the Snowman was a jolly soul, sure, but who knew he was such a great workout buddy? Fashioning things out of snow — people, forts, angels, Batman — delivers a resistance-based workout that can build muscle and burn around 250 calories an hour. Plus, if friends, family members or that special someone is pelting you with snowballs, you NEED a place to seek shelter, right?
Have fun, feel younger, live longer
With Heart & Stroke Month right around the corner in February, it’s definitely worth noting that the activities listed above can dramatically lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. Being active can also help prevent and control risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, certain types of cancer, and obesity, as well as reduce stress levels, increase energy, and improve sleep and digestion. Sounds like a recipe for how to stay young!
Yep, orange is the new black, moustaches are the new sideburns, and exercise really is the new fountain of youth.
What’s your favourite winter activity? Snowmobiling? Ice fishing? Tell us what you love to do in the comments below!
This article is made possible by the support of generous sponsors.
Adam Bisby is a Toronto-based freelance journalist and father of two. His award-winning stories have appeared in The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star and National Post newspapers, in magazines like Explore, Reader’s Digest, International Traveller and Canadian Family, and on websites including MSN, MSN Canada, and DontChangeMuch.ca. Visit Adam’s website for more details on his award winning work.