Don’t let the 2014 Winter Olympics come and go without inspiring you to get off the couch to try a few winter activities on your own. Whether you’re walking, running or taking on more traditional winter sports like cross country skiing, there are many opportunities to stay active — even when the temperatures drop.
If you want to keep your winter exercise routine simple, regularly walk in your neighborhood. You also can take on a challenge and give back to your community by participating in a winter charity walk/run. For example, the Extreme North Dakota Iceman Triathlon in Grand Forks and the Americus Kiwanis 5k Kold Run/Walk in Georgia are held annually in February.
The Kiwanis Club of the Central Adirondacks has been getting participants to take it even a step further — by engaging in competitions like snowshoe racing and cross-country skiing in the Old Forge, N.Y. area. Since the Annual Winter Sports Challenge was launched 14 years ago, the charity event has been steadily gaining in popularity, says Bill Ransom, event co-chairman.
“We started out small and it has just grown from there,” Ransom says. “The first year, we made about $900. Last year, we made $15,000.” While the event proceeds helped the Kiwanis launch and maintain a local youth center, it has had the added benefit of encouraging people to try different winter activities. More young people are getting more interested in skiing, while older people are exploring snowshoeing, he says.
“A lot of people, when they’re in their 70s and 80s, don’t feel as comfortable skiing anymore,” Ransom says. “They’re finding snowshoes are very comfortable and easy to use. It gives them more confidence to stay active in the snow.”
Are you ready to get off the couch to try a few winter activities? Here are a few tips to get you started:
5k or 10k run/walk: Your favorite activity can be even more invigorating during the colder months. Make sure you’re properly dressed and running in areas free of ice. If you want to join in a charity event, check out RunningintheUSA.com which lists a year-round calendar of activities, including Kiwanis-sponsored events throughout the nation.
Snowshoeing: If you’re a first-timer, rent equipment. After you get the hang of the sport, invest in your own equipment. Make sure you’re properly fit and prepared by an experienced instructor. If you’re in the area, try snowshoeing during the Kiwanis Annual Winter Sports Challenge on Feb. 15 at the McCauley Mountain Ski Area in Old Forge, N.Y.
Get out there and enjoy your winter sports while supporting local charities. To find out how you participate in Kiwanis activities this winter, locate a club in your area.