Monday, January 11, 2016

Go Play Outside

After a warm start this winter, Winnipeg is beginning to live up to it's nickname this week.

They don't call it Winterpeg for nothing.

But even with overnight lows meriting warnings on my weather app, I still enjoy getting outside to play during the day for an hour at least when I can. Having a dog makes this a. more enjoyable and b. something I can't talk myself out of when it's blustery out. The dog needs to take care of bodily functions and she needs to exercise, and me being wanting to be lazy doesn't change that. (Though, to be fair, if it's - 45 the dog and I will both probably curl up inside after she does her best to pee quickly and run back inside.) 

The last few days of -15 to -20 (Fahrenheit) however, have found Artemis and I happily trotting through the woods in our nearby park.

Artemis is not deterred by a little "frost face."

We did this all last winter as well, causing a number of my friends who have resided in Winnipeg for most or all of their lives to look at me as though I have grown an additional head and ask, "but aren't you from Arizona?"

Which makes me chuckle for a number of reasons. Those of you reading this who know me will know that "from" is a stupidly difficult assignation for me, and that "Arizona" hardly covers it. But that aside, sure, I spent the last three years before moving to Winnipeg in a climate that rarely dropped below 32 degrees Fahrenheit and almost never saw snow, but I also spent those same three years dedicating as much time to playing outside as I could, year round. Even my job encouraged it, as part of what I was paid to do was to take high school students outside to climb, trail run, and go backpacking. After three years of spending so much time in the wilderness, playing outside is a hard habit to break.

And humans are nothing if not adaptable.

So, even though I now live in a city, am no longer surrounded by national forest on all sides, have to do more than step out my front door to go for a seven mile hike on which I'm unlikely to encounter any other humans, and the aforementioned city is one that occasionally issues cold weather warnings for -45 windchill... I still like to go play outside, at least a bit, every day that I can.

The rewards for which are pretty fantastic.

In addition to all the natural beauty and cute dog pictures, apparently research has shown that spending time outside in the winter is quite good for your health (yep even when it's -20 out). And, if you're looking for anecdotal evidence, I have to say that I ALWAYS feel better after going for a walk in the cold, even when I'm feeling a bit sick already. In addition, I have gotten sick less often since moving to Winnipeg (however there are many factors that could contribute to that, so you know, grain of salt and all of that). 

All in all, playing outside is a big part of what keeps me sane (or as close to it as I'm likely to get), and I highly recommend it to anyone, even if you live someplace where winter means business.

Artemis is not the only one who occasionally suffers from "frost face."

Happy Winter! Now go play outside! 


  1. Feeling pretty wimpy about not wanting to go running in forty degree weather. And yes, that's positive 40. You guys would be sweating, I'm sure.

    1. Ha! It's all about acclimatization. If you lived here you might feel differently.