6 Reasons Why Canadians Should Go Tobogganing This Winter!
Winters in Canada help define who we are. Yes, we may whine about cold snaps, incompetent winter drivers, shoveling and wet mitts, but there is little doubt that this land shapes who we are as Canadians. Spending time in the great outdoors is fundamental to our national identity.
Each winter, every city, every town, every community across Canada, has some kind of hill that is transformed into a gathering space when the snow starts to fall. So to embrace our nippy northern climate (yes, even you Toronto), here are 6 reasons why Canadians of all ages, should go tobogganing (or sliding as it’s called in some parts of this country) this winter:
1. It’ll Make You Smile
In fact, it’ll likely make you laugh. It might even make you laugh so hard you’ll pee your pants (although wet pants and cold temperatures don’t mix well, so maybe try hard to keep your pants dry). The benefits of smiling and laughing are clear yet adults in particular, don’t do enough of either. So grab a sled, find a hill and watch the giggles ensue. It’s practically impossible not to crack a smile as you slide uncontrollably down the white stuff. Feeling like a kid is truly one of the better sensations in life.
2. Embracing Risk
We all face risk on a daily basis, be it real or perceived. But for various reasons, we have become risk averse, overprotective of our children and everything that surrounds them. This bubble-wrapping has led to avoiding risk at all costs, it seems. Extensive research (and plain ol’ common sense) tells us that being exposed to risk is integral to developing healthy and smart children. So some of these cities and municipalities that have recently banned tobogganing aren’t doing kids any favours. Sliding down a hill does have risk – there are numerous tailbones that can attest to that. But it’s also what makes kids resilient and helps them build character. Surprisingly enough, ditto for adults.
3. Breaking Bad Habits
On average, Canadian teenagers are spending just shy of 8 hours a day in front of screens. Adults are no better – we’re setting a horrible example for children. This increased time in front of screens is leading to rising rates of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes as well as general poorer health. Yes, we live in the digital age, and there is little doubt that cat videos are extremely addictive or that our thumbs were seemingly designed for the sole purpose of scrolling at nauseam on our phones. But screen time has become our default setting for the vast majority of our waking hours. There is a significant imbalance of time spent in front of screens versus time spent outside, and it’s affecting our health, our relationships and a whole bunch of other important parts of our lives. Heading out to the local hill can maybe help tip the scales back in the right direction.
4. Improve Your Health
According to the Active Healthy Kids Report Card, only 9% of Canadian students aged 5-17 get the recommended 60 minutes of heart pumping activity they need each day. Trudging up and down the local hill is sure to help with bumping up those percentages. But it’s not just our physical health that benefits. Growing research connects our time outside with improved mental health – lower levels of stress, depression, and anxiety. We underestimate how happy going outside can make us and the profound effect it can have on our physiology.
5. Help Solve Climate Change
Yes, it’s a bold claim, but here’s the rationale. Any relationship that you wish to strengthen and grow requires time together. It’s really no different for our relationship with the great outdoors. If we don’t have a healthy relationship with the environment, how can we deeply care about something like climate change? The more time we spend outside, the better a relationship we’ll build with this land. Too simplistic? Perhaps. But throwing around parts per million CO2 numbers and arguing about projections in rising temperatures gets lost on a lot of people. If we can instead focus on building a strong relationship with our natural environment simply by spending a bit of time outside, then maybe we’ll care more about what’s happening to this Earth. Heading out tobogganing this winter seems like a tangible step towards solving one of the prescient issues of the 21st century.
6. It’s a Solid Excuse to Put Your Arms Around Someone
There are very few activities where you get to hug the heck out of someone for the sole purpose of your own safety. Be it your child, your partner, your friend or a lover, there is something visceral about wrapping your arms around someone before hurdling down a hill together. The world needs more huggers and tobogganing is determined to help that cause.
So this winter, find that old wooden toboggan or crazy carpet tucked away in some corner, and head out into that crisp, cold air we call winter. This land we are so fortunate to be stewards of is unlike any other – get out and enjoy one of Canada’s oldest winter pastimes.