What if we all started going outside again?
We live in one of the most beautiful, natural playgrounds in the world. We are lucky to have the freedom to explore, play, and interact with nature for the sake of simply expanding our horizons. We truly are "strong and Free" when it comes to nature.
The most difficult part about being active in Canada is deciding where to go. As long as it's not your couch to watch someone else on TV enjoy nature, you really can't do it wrong. We have easy hikes and walks, to extreme climbs and adventures.
The gym makes you sexy.
The great outdoors makes you healthy.
If you want to be a healthier version of yourself, more productive in the workplace, have more energy for life, and simply avoid the hospital and preventable disease, all you have to do is focus on your city and head outside.
For me, that means Winnipeg and all of Manitoba. This province is full of spots that you can go out into and lose all track of time and just be active. Not a class that drags on, and not a bootcamp that leaves you sore for days. Health and restoring that work life balance is about getting lost in the world outside.
Make a list of your favorite spots in your home town. Here's 6 of mine, and I just barely scratched the surface. When I need a few more ideas, I head to social media or Travel Manitoba's website. Both have ideas when my brain is mush after a long day.
Share your list on social media, Here's my favourites, in absolutely no particular order.
First, we have an amazing suspension bridge and old dam site for exploring. Pinawa is just an hour and half outside the city. Great place to spend a half day, and take in some of the freshest air in the world. The beauty of the area is how simple it is to get around. If you are new to fitness and hiking, you can still simply get to all the great photo opportunities. Trails Manitoba rates it as an easy trail.
Next on the list is St. Norbert Heritage Park. The only thing as important as health, is getting smarter. St. Norbert Heritage Park combines both, as the trails and surrounding area has some of the history of the area on plaques for visitors to read. Winnipeg is full of traditions and amazing stories. In fact, you'd be shocked to know the effect this city has had on the world- our history is pretty impressive. Learning some of that history, all while taking in an amazing view- that's what this heritage park is all about.
Let's talk about Assiniboine Park for a quick second. The Winnipeg zoo is world class and the amount of outdoor festivities and unique evening activities is on par with every major city. Then to cap it all off, we have this outstanding obstacle trail. Named after one of my all time hero's Terry Fox, the trails is a 1 km loop with chin up bars, dead lift stations, and more. You can turn it into the most intense workout, or you can take it easy and check out the wild life that call this park in the middle of Winnipeg home. Winnipeg hosted the World Cup of Soccer this summer, and I'm pretty sure that Assiniboine Park was one of the most photographed stops. The Terry Fox trail is a must try. Tweet at me, I'd be happy to join you if you are going for good workout!
The Forks, and our waterfront portion of downtown are growing, and becoming a hot bed for adventure. The Human Rights Museum is awesome, the Forks Market has every thing you could want, and of course, lots of walking paths. You can head into the exchange or cross the bridge into St. Boniface. The options are endless and that keeps you active without even noticing. Simple movement, just to be alive. However, if you want to get that intensity up all you have to do is #JustShowUp. There is a very cool movement called the November Project. Read more about it, they've got something special going. Thomas Hall started a workout here in Winnipeg, and a little over a year later, he has 100 people showing up at the Forks regularly. Pretty impressive feat when you think how many people don't like to workout. It's free, which goes a long way with people. It is one of the most positive environments you will ever experience, which goes perfectly with how great the Forks is.
Just when you think you've seen enough, it keeps getting better in Winnipeg. We have this place called Fort Whyte, and it's probably one of my favourite spots. It is right in the city, but you would absolutely not know it. They have it all from kayaking and canoeing, to archery and axe-throwing. You can learn to build fires, and all the basics of survival. Or you can head over and just go for a beautiful easy walk. They also host yoga for all those who want that complete stress relief. Not enough people brag about Winnipeg, I know this because if we did, there would be line ups to go experience places like Fort Whyte Alive.
The last spot I'm going to cover on this short list (that really just starts to scratch the surface of the amazing spots in Manitoba and Winnipeg) is the Duff Roblin Parkway Trail. It's 52 kilometres of exactly what makes Manitoba, well, Manitoba. Beautiful skies and flat rolling land. You can't beat this view. You can pick it up at dozens of entry points and walk a short little loop, or cycle the entire thing if you choose. Personally, I like to head down to the Prairie Grove start point 8km in. I go for a light 4km jog, turn around and head back. It's easy, and on a sunny day, the view is incredible.
That short list is just a few of my favourites. Hunt's Lake trail, all of Riding Mountain National Park, the entire north from The Pas to Thompson and on to Churchill. Our outdoor experience is on par with anything else out there. The stuff that's right in Winnipeg doesn't cost a thing. The view is free, the air is free, it's the epitome of free health care.
This is the full disclosure part of the article. My inspiration to show off Winnipeg came from #FocusOnMyCity, a brilliant social media project from Ford Canada. I appreciated being included, especially since I got to use of the new 1-litre engine Ford Focus to get to all the "hot spots."
Let's get outside Canada! Feel free to visit Winnipeg anytime, we have your fun covered.