If these last 5 years of starting a business has taught Adam and I one thing, it would probably revolve around the importance of being active outside. The busier we’ve become each year has resulted in less and less time spent outdoors. And we’ve felt the consequence of this in both our physical and mental health.

The significance of physical outdoor activities cannot be overstated. The impact fresh air has, especially when mixed with activity, is huge. And we live where the air is crisp and clean. It just feels good to step outside and breath deep!

Read on to see more about this impact, how you can better your current state of mind with a simple, free activity and what to do when motivation is lacking.

The Benefits of Outdoor Physical Activity

The first benefit of being active outdoors impacts our mental health. It can help improve our focus, as our negative thoughts make way for positivity. Some research shows it also helps sharpen our memory and even changes the way we think. Even just 5 or 10 minutes outside starts to reduce our stress and increase our relaxation. You will quickly see your mood improve as well as your mental clarity, cognitive function and even creativity increase.

The second benefit impacts your physical health. Any type of activity, indoor or outdoor,

is obviously going to be beneficial to you. But being active outside has an added benefit as you breathe fresh oxygen into your lungs and your heart pumps that fresh oxygen directly to your muscles. This is what our bodies were made to do. Not breathing recycled/filtered air inside while we sit on the couch!

The physical health benefits are a lot more obvious to us. Being active in a cardio activitiy increases our cardiovascular health. Exercising our legs and arms strengthens those muscles and our bones. Our lungs and heart immediately benefit from activity. In fact, so does our brain! It is said that dementia increases by up to 40% in those that are not active. Yikes.

In addition to the fresh oxygen intake, the vitamin D we receive from being outside has so many benefits. From healthy skin, to a healthy body and mind. Vitamin D helps bone growth, reduces risks of cancer and fights depression as it aids in brain activity. And, of course, the best source (and free source!) of Vitamin D we have at our disposal is the sun! So get outside, breathe that fresh air and soak up that sun.

Exploring Diverse Outdoor Activities

So what activities should we do? Well, anything from a bike ride to a walk to a hike. It doesn’t have to be complicated, nor extra strenuous. The goal is to simply get outside and get active.

Some of our favorite activities would be as follows:

  • Biking: Seeing the world on two wheels, on either paved or non-paved trails
    • Biking is one of the best activities we can do for both our cardiovascular system as well as our physical health. It is easy on our joints, while providing a good cardio and muscular workout.
    • Biking allows us to explore scenary we maybe don’t always get to see. Taking the backroad, finding a new path through a new neighbourhood, or a new trail through a valley that we wouldn’t normally find otherwise.
    • The best part of biking is that while it is exercise, it is also fun! Biking brings a sense of adventure and thrill that you can’t get off the bike. Enjoying exercise? That’s a foreign concept for many of us!
  • Snowshoeing: Embracing the winter wonderland
    • Unfortunately, this year we’ve not been able to engage much in this great winter exercise. But snowshoeing is an excellent option to get active outside, especially during our long winter months. And, thankfully, we finally got some white stuff just this month!
    • Snowshoeing gives us a connection with nature in snowy landscapes, seeing some great scenary and enjoying it with friends, family or just maybe a favorite pet or two. The brisk winter air brings a heightened sense of adventure and excitement and the soft, white snow gives a satisfying crunch under the snowshoes. Just writing this makes me miss snow…
  • Hiking: Pathway to your whole health
    • There was a social media trend going around recently showing someone stomping around outside and the caption was “going on a stupid walk for my stupid mental health”. While these made for funny videos, the fact remains that just a walk can provide a stress relief like none other. And if it’s a walk through nature? All the better!
    • Hiking with elevation and terrain variations also helps you mentally, as your brain contemplates the path in front of you, and it you receive a dopamine benefit as you conquer the trail and it’s challenges. Not to mention that when we are in nature, where we were built to be, our mental state gets a huge boost.

Motivation in the Long Winter Months

We live in an area of the world where it is winter as much as it is summer. And being active in the summer comes easier to so many of us. Beach days, hiking, taking the dogs out, going for a bike ride. It’s all so much easier when you don’t have to worry about freezing to death. But winter? During winter months we all find ourselves locked up inside our homes. What a waste of half our lives! As long as we’re going to live at the 52nd parallel, we really must accept that we’re going to experience winter as much as we don’t and learn to find activities that help us stay emotionally and physically healthy!

Winter in Saskatchewan has many challenges. The most obvious is the cold, were it can get to -40 degrees Celsius or colder, prairie winters are no joke. Add to that the wind, and even -15 degrees can feel like -40! Then, of course, there’s the snow and ice. This makes things like hiking, running and even walking difficult if not even dangerous.

Remember how, as kids, we’d spend hours outside? Sledding, skating, building snow forts. Then, as adults, suddenly we seemingly forgot how to dress for the weather! Cold? Get your layers on. Pick a warm, thermal base layer (such as merino wool) that keeps your core warm and wicks sweat away. Find another layer, such as fleece, that does a great job retaining heat and managing moisture. And be sure that you always finish your layers with a good, strong wind breaking outer layer. Keeping your core warm helps your body with heat management and disbursement, sending blood to your extremeties to keep them warm as well. Your body is smart, if your core is cold, it will do everything it can to keep you alive. So build those layers to keep that core warm. After your core, find good, warm headgear. We lose a lot of heat through our heads and necks, so a proper hat and a nice neck warmer will make a world of difference. Top that with properly winter rated (prairie winter rated that is, there is a big difference so do your research!) gloves and boots and you’ll be out enjoying the snow and soaking in that vitamin D before you know it!

A good way to embrace the season changes is to do so in a group or with a few friends. Set yourself some activity goals with a group of friends and keep yourselves accountable. It is hard to get the motivation to do a solo activity in the winter, but if you have people to meet you’ll be much more likely to hit those goals.

And, seriously, the beauty of a snow covered landscape under the bright winter sun is a tough one to beat. 


Are you struggling with motivation? Do you find yourself fighting against depression during our winter months? Have you seen an increase in inches around your waist? A little bit of exercise outside will make a huge difference.

Since writing this blog, I’ve been doubling my work commute. And if you know me, you know that’s not impressive as my commute is a full 900m bike ride! So now it’s almost 2kms one ways, no big deal. But! I’m chosing to ride through a park between our store and my house and just that little bit of extra activity plus riding on paths through trees and around a pond has helped improve my mood.

So what will it take for you to step outside and experience the mood-lifting fresh air and Vitamin D boosting sun shine? Will you make it a priority this season, for your mental and physical well being? Let’s do it together!

Now that we have some snow, stay tuned for some fat bike group rides. We have a few fat bikes to rent so if you don’t have one, you can still join us. Let’s do this!