Most of us in North Idaho look forward to winter and the fun it brings. Crisp air, beautiful mountains, ice fishing, the list goes on. While the dark days make it hard to get out and move, there are many activities here to stay active and have fun this winter.
Schweitzer has great options for snowboarding, skiing and snowshoeing. Skiing and snowboarding are great options for lower extremity endurance and agility as well as a good cardio workout. Both of these sports challenge your ability to quickly adapt to a changing external environment and move your body to accommodate upcoming obstacles. If downhill sports are not your cup of tea there are other options. Snowshoeing provides a great low impact workout with lower risk of injury than downhill sports.Snowshoeing builds up your strength in your hip and lower leg muscles as well as challenges your core strength. It provides moderate intensity endurance exercise for your cardiovascular system as well. There are several trails up at Schweitzer and Pine Street woods which provide trails for all levels of experience.
Cross country skiing is another low impact sport great for strengthening the lower extremity muscles and providing endurance exercise for the cardiovascular system. Cross country skiing also works your core muscles and upper extremities if using poles whilst going uphill. Cross country skiing uses longer strides and improves balance. There are cross country tracks at Pine Street Woods maintained by the Sandpoint Nordic Club, who also offer ski rentals and lessons. Schweitzer Mountain has cross country tracks and ski rentals as well.
If you prefer indoor sports during the winter, Pickleball is a fun up and coming sport which works your whole body. Pickleball challenges your cardiovascular endurance, hand eye coordination and lower body agility. Peak Fitness in Hayden offers pickleball opportunities and the Panhandle Pickleball Club provides several events through the year.
There are several local trails that are maintained throughout the winter including the Sandpoint-Dover community trail and the Ponderay Bay trail. Walking for 30-60 minutes per day has shown to be beneficial for overall health. In the winter, when walking on trails it is recommended to get a pair of Yaktrax or spikes for the shoes to prevent falling on slippery snow and ice.
While winter activities can be a blast there are a few more safety precautions to take. It can get very cold here so it is important if you begin to feel numbness or pain in extremities that you get inside and warm up properly. It is also smart to take a buddy with you when doing outdoor activities to prevent getting lost or falling without help to get up.
Winter in North Idaho is a unique experience. With so many things to do it is possible to stay just as active in the winter as in the summer and have a blast. We don’t have to dread the cold with so many fun things to try. Remember to check with your physician before starting a new exercise program.