With the cold weather finally starting to warm up in Toronto and spring not too far away, there has never been a better time to get started on exercising outdoors again. Whether or not you are already a member at a gym, outdoor exercising is an easy and inexpensive way to get healthier almost anywhere you are located. Read on to find out about the benefits of outdoor exercise, as well as some of the best activities you can do this late winter, early spring and year-round.
The Many Benefits of Outdoor Exercise
Burn More Calories: Taking part in outdoor exercises can exert greater energy than indoor workouts and may help you burn fewer calories at the same time. Natural jogging trails, ice-rinks have changing terrain and environmental factors like wind, meaning you will have a harder (and greater!) workout.
Socializing: Physical activities can be made even more enjoyable if you have a friend or friends to join in on the recreation. Take the opportunity to socialize and encourage with your friends and family while also getting your outdoor workout on.
Fresh Air & Vitamin D: Exercising outside means you will be getting both fresh air and replenishing your Vitamin D levels. This 'sunshine vitamin' is naturally produced by the body when in sunlight and helps to absorb calcium and boost your overall mood.
No Membership Fees: Another great perk of outdoor exercise is since it is available year-round and can be done in most public areas, there are no membership fees involved. Think of the outdoors as your 24/7 free gym which you can make use of whenever you like!
Outdoor Activities for Great Exercise
Snowshoeing is a winter sport that combines a great aerobic workout and a unique way to enjoy the outdoors in the winter seasons.
You can snowshoe on many trails in the city including Tommy Thompson Park and the Don Valley River Trails, both of which have varying elevation and flatter areas to explore based on your desired workout intensity.
Snowshoes can be rented at most outdoor equipment stores for the day, weekend or longer at affordable rates and after a day of snowshoeing, you will certainly have gotten your legs exercised and a healthy dose of fresh air!
Cross-country skiing is another easy to learn and practice winter activity, since you do not need large hills or mountains to ski down, and there is also no need to visit a ski lodge or get a chair lift pass.
Rent or borrow a pair of cross-country skis and head for the many ski-friendly trails throughout the city, including the Toronto Islands Park. Since the park is in its off-season, ferry service is limited to Ward's Island but the other islands can be reached through the trails system. More info on visiting the islands is available here.
Ice-skating is a classic winter sport and for good reason; all it takes is a rink and skates and you can enjoy hours of skating and good exercise.
Drop-in for an ice-skating session at one of the city's many outdoor skating rinks.
Walking, Jogging & Cycling
Walking and jogging are two of the easiest outdoor exercises to practice since you do not need any equipment and can exercise in park space, trails or anywhere on public streets.
We are truly lucky to live in a city with as much park space, cycling routes and trail area as Toronto; some of our favorite locations include High Park, Martin Goodman Trail, and the Beltline Trail. Closest to home here at All In One Beauty Lounge is the lovely Humber Bay Park, which is worth visiting year-round and offers great views of Lake Ontario.
Find yourself a reliable pair of walking or jogging shoes that can withstand light rain and soil, which will be helpful once the spring arrives. Make sure you dress for the weather in case of cold fronts or sudden rain, a good windbreaker, athletic jogging pants, gloves, and winter hat will keep your body warm as you exercise. Look for breathable materials for your outdoor running clothing and remember to dress comfortably enough that you will stay warm but not overheat from layers.
Hopefully, now you have more inspiration to embrace the cold and enjoy some exercise, have fun!