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Getting Outside, Even In Winter

Updated: Apr 18, 2021

“The is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.” Scandinavian Proverb

On this, the 200 millionth day of social distancing, I’m restless. So I’m doing what I always do when this mood hits. I’m getting outside, even in winter.

I know it seems counterintuitive to be active in the cold when you’re worn out and run down. It’s hard to get motivated when you need a sweater just to sit in the house. Hibernating is necessary sometimes. I get it.

But when that weird, jittery kind of zoned out tiredness hits, I know it’s time to go outside, if for no other reason than to just move.

Cross-country skiing in Viking Ship Park

The health benefits of getting outside (even in winter)

I’ve been sitting. A lot. (#PandemicProbs)

I work from home, Eli does virtual school from our kitchen table, so we’ve gone from taking a 8,000-10,000 steps a day this summer to a tiny fraction of that number. And while staying home has kept us safe from COVID, sitting all day isn’t exactly good for us.

Plus, there’s just something about the sunshine, the quick hit of vitamin D and the fresh air that makes me feel better (even when I’m really dragging) and helps me sleep well at night. It’s invigorating. I start to crave it. So I’m making a point to schedule it into my day, like preventative medicine.

It turns out my instincts were correct — the outdoors is a type of medicine. The science on the subject is pretty sound. Getting outside, even in winter has major health benefits.

Winter fun at Frostival — if you’re in town

It’s helped that my community throws a giant Frostival festival packed with fun wintery things — think geocaching and outdoor movies to a scavenger hunt and Drive Through Food Truck Festival. (You can also stock up on your Girl Scout cookies there, which is a double bonus.)

If you want to win a pass to skip the line at the food truck festival on Saturday or Sunday, follow and comment on my Facebook page and/or Instagram profile. I’m drawing the winner at 8 p.m. February 26th!

Make your own winter fun, anywhere

But if you’re busy this weekend or if you live outside my area, no worries. Winter has plenty of adventures for you. Just pull on some warm layers (these are my top winter weather picks) and do whatever seems interesting.

It can help to think like a kid. Chances are, if you enjoyed it when you were little, you’ll like it now — even if it’s just for nostalgia’s sake.

I went sledding with my sister. They hit a hidden ramp and flew so high we all laughed so hard we couldn’t stand.

I took my family snowshoeing. Derrick and Eli both got second hand ice skates so they can take advantage of the outdoor rink near our house. I take my E walking around our neighborhood several times a week. We play at the playground even in the snow.

We definitely live in North Dakota…

Cross-country skiing at Edgewood in north Fargo is on my list, now that the weather isn’t 20 degrees below zero. I still go out in that weather (see the aforementioned list of cold weather clothing), but not for any length of time.

My favorite winter spots in Fargo-Moorhead

If you’re in Fargo, Moorhead or West Fargo, getting outside is really easy. We’re lucky to live in a community where there are so many parks that are relatively easy to access in the winter, even if you don’t have a vehicle.

In addition to Edgewood, I really like Viking Ship Park in Moorhead. You can ski or stroll along the river and look across at downtown Fargo.

We saw some very cool ice sculptures early in the Frostival celebrations. It’s been warm lately, so they’ve melted a bit.

But it sounds like this light tunnel will remain up for at least a little while longer. Kudos to Eli for getting an excellent photo as my second shooter. (There were quite a few masked people taking their own photos, so it was easier said than done.)

The light tunnel in Viking Ship Park

If you like to get further off the beaten path, the skiing and snowshoeing trails at M.B. Johnson Park are excellent. It’s so far out in northeastern Moorhead that you feel like you’re in the country.

I also love hiking in Fargo-Moorhead’s Nature Parks. They’re one of the best and most beautiful places for getting outside, even in winter. And there’s something so soothing about feeling enveloped by a landscape, even in the city.

What about you? What are your favorite winter recreation activities? What new outdoor hobbies have you tried? What are you interested in? Which parks and outdoor spaces to you love? What are your concerns or reservations about getting outside in the winter?

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