9 outdoor sports to try this winter
Don’t let the cold keep you cooped up inside this winter! Instead of hibernating, bundle up, head out and participate in an outdoor sport or activity.
“Enjoying the outdoors, even in the winter, is a great way to keep your spirits high and squeeze in some exercise,” says Dr. Steven Fox, internal medicine physician at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago.
Winter sports are a great way to get moving and keep your mind off the cold. Check out the activities below and let us know what you’re excited to try out this season. For safety reasons, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends setting reasonable limits on outdoor play and coming inside periodically to warm up.
- Sledding: Sledding is a favorite pastime of children and adults alike. Grab your friends and family and head to the hill! Take a look at this list of sledding hills from Red Tricycle. Do you have a favorite spot near you? Let us know in the comments.
AAP Safety Tip: Consider wearing a helmet and keep away from motor vehicles. Children should be supervised throughout this activity.
- Ice Skating: Enjoy gliding around with the whole family on an outdoor ice rink. Find one near you or give one of these spots a try:
- McCormick Tribune Ice Rink at Millennium Park
- Maggie Daley Park Skating Ribbon
- Lincoln Park Zoo Ice Rink
AAP Safety Tip: Always skate in the direction of the crowd and refrain from chewing gum or eating candy while skating.
- Snow Tubing: Speed down the hills in a tube to reach top speeds. Gaining in popularity, snow tubing is a fun activity the whole family can enjoy.
- Snowstar Winter Sports Park
- Wilmot Mountain
- Villa Olivia
- Blackwell Forest Preserve/Mt Hoy
- Polar Peak
- Skiing & Snowboarding: Hit the slopes and cut through the snow without leaving Illinois. Have recommendations for other skiers and snowboarders? Leave them in the comments!
- Villa Olivia
- Raging Buffalo Snowboard Ski Park
- Chestnut Mountain Resort
- Four Lakes Alpine Snowsports
AAP Safety Tip: Always wear a helmet and make sure your equipment fits properly. Children should be taught to ski or snowboard by a qualified instructor.
- Cross-Country Skiing: Cross-country skiing is an excellent low-impact activity that burns lots of calories! Try one of these places or check out this list of locations from the Northwest Nordic Ski Club.
- Ski Jumping: Dare to fly! Jump outside your comfort zone and see how far you can go. Check out Norge Ski Club to plan your activity.
- Curling: Have you ever wondered if you could make the Olympic team? Test your skills at one of the clubs below or at Kaiser Tiger in the West Loop, Chicago Curling Club or Windy City Curling Club.
- Snowshoeing: Don’t sink in the snow! Strap on some snowshoes and explore the great outdoors. Snowshoeing is easy to learn and also a great workout.
- Northerly Island
- DuPage County Forest Preserve
- Morton Arboretum
- Lincoln Marsh
- Fox Valley Park District
- Ice Fishing: Experience your favorite hobby year-round, no boat necessary. Grab a few friends and unwind out on the ice.
“Taking advantage of these opportunities could have great health benefits,” says Dr. Fox. “Be sure to take the appropriate precautions and wear layers to stay safe.”
Enjoy the adventure!
About the Author
Brittany Hunter, health enews contributor, is a specialist of public affairs and marketing at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago. She has a degree in Journalism from Ohio University and experience in communications, marketing and public strategies. She loves going to concerts, reading and exploring the city.