The Sport Information Resource Centre
The Sport Information Resource Centre

The holidays are a time for friends, family, and the spirit of giving. Whether we are at school, work, or play we should remember to keep up our healthy eating and exercise habits. Studies have shown that more than half of all weight gained throughout the year occurs during the holiday season, so our healthy habits built during the year become even more important this time of year.

Stay active during the holidays with these great ideas:

  • Your body will appreciate regular exercise, so keep up your fitness routine! Whether you go to the gym, work out at home, or play sports league, it is important to try and continue being active during the holiday season.
  • Give gifts that are activity based. Keep in mind that children need plenty of physical activity to stay healthy, so consider gifts that get kids jumping, running, climbing, and moving about. Giving gifts to children is one of the greatest parts of the holiday season.
  • Get outside and do something together as a family. Examples of great family activities include skating, skiing (downhill and cross-country), snowshoeing, tobogganing, and hiking. Even something as simple as building a snowman helps get everyone off the couch and outside. You can also try starting a new holiday family tradition by signing up for a holiday race/walk, cutting down your own Christmas tree, creating a family scavenger hunt, participating in a polar dip, or building a snow fort. Doing activities as a family helps keep everyone motivated!
  • Stay active and eat healthy while travelling on road trips. To help resist the temptation of eating fast food on the road, try bringing health snacks with you in the vehicle. Snacks such as fruit, raw veggies, and homemade sandwiches help feed hungry travelers. Also, if your trip is long then try and stop for an activity break. Keep an eye out for parks and wilderness areas to help keep things interesting.

Embrace the winter! Try some new and unique activities during the holidays. If you’re looking for some ideas, then consider these options:

  • Dogsledding. This unique activity is offered all over Canada, with its popularity on the rise over the past few years. Kids will love the thrill of riding on a dog-pulled sled, while everyone will enjoy the beautiful outdoors.
  • Snow sports (dodgeball, soccer, football). A great way to get everyone outside is to play your favourite sport on snow! Laughs will be had as players will struggle to keep their footing, while falling is typically softened by the snow.
  • Fat biking. Fat biking has been linked to the 1980’s when Alaskans needed to figure out a way to get to and from work. It’s now become a fun way to continue biking through the winter months!
  • Snowshoe running. Snowshoeing has been taken to whole new level, thanks to the rise in popularity of snowshoe running. This activity is definitely for those with plenty of energy!
  • Ice skating trails. Ottawa’s Rideau Canal is the world’s largest skating rink once winter descends on Canada’s capital, but you can find other long rinks in communities across the country. Strap on your skates and enjoy the scenery.
  • Kite skiing. A relatively new and fun way to get across frozen lakes, kite skiing is the best way to enjoy a windy day on ice.
  • Ice boating. Using sailboats fitted with skis or runners, ice boating was originally used a means of transportation. Now it’s become a popular recreational activity for everyone to enjoy.
  • Snow tubing. Sliding down a hill on a tub is so much fun! Most ski hills have a section dedicated to tubing, so check out your local skill hill this holiday season.
  • Ice climbing. One of the most challenging winter activities but also the most rewarding, ice climbing has risen in popularity over the past few years. Chances are there’s a frozen waterfall nearby for you to check out!

Don’t forget to keep an eye on what you eat during the holiday season. Here are some healthy eating tips and tricks to help keep you happy and healthy:

  • Try not to skip any meals (especially breakfast). Starting off the day with food in your belly can help keep your energy up, while also preventing overeating between meals.
  • Drink plenty of water. Holiday favourites often include sugar and salt, so make sure to drink water to hydrate the body.
  • Do your best to have the kids eat healthy. Some ideas include making fruit and vegetables visible, using colours in every meal.
  • Try to make it fun using great holiday recipe ideas that the whole family can get involved in.
  • When hosting, offer appetizers raw or “naked”. Veggies, fruit, and fresh seafood can be served instead of pastries, crackers and cheese, and meats.

We hope these ideas help get the family out rolling around in the snow, eating healthy, and truly enjoying the holiday festivities. Happy Holidays from Everyone at SIRC!

References from the SIRC Collection:

Rosania, JR. Holiday Game Plan. Swimmers World. Volume 54, Issue 12, pp 32. December 2013

9 Smart Seasonal Substitutions. Tufts University Health and Nutrition Letter. November 2009