Health Unit Shares Tips To Stay Active, Healthy And Safe This Winter


Physical activity keeps the body strong and healthy and can improve mental health. Winter is great season for outdoor activities, such as skating and sledding, but extreme cold temperatures, snow and ice can pose health and safety risks for everyone. The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) offers some tips and reminders to help you stay safer this winter when being active outdoors.

Cold weather is common in the Simcoe Muskoka region and exposure to extremely cold temperatures can cause serious and sometimes life-threatening health problems. Knowing the weather conditions before going outside can help you prepare and adjust your plans accordingly. When spending time outdoors, stay alert and watch for signs of  hypothermia, frostbite, and frostnip, and consider shortening outdoor play for children when temperatures are between -20ºC to -25ºC (with or without wind chill).  Keep children indoors if temperatures reach or drop below -27ºC (with or without wind chill).

It can be tempting to stay indoors when its cold out but being physically active outdoors is good for your overall health. Getting outside and being active can be as simple as going for a walk around your neighbourhood, or as action packed as hitting the slopes to go skiing, snowboarding or sledding – and be sure to remember to wear a helmet to reduce the risk of head injuries.

Dressing for the weather helps to preserve body heat when spending time outdoors and should include a base layer, a fleece or wool sweater mid-layer, and a wind/waterproof jacket. Top it off with a hat, gloves or mittens, and a scarf to cover exposed skin. Remember that winter boots are not just for keeping your feet warm. A well fitted boot with a good tread that offers stability can help prevent slips and falls on ice or in slushy and snowy conditions.

As respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), influenza and COVID-19 infection continues to be transmitted in our communities, the health unit strongly recommends using multiple layers of protection such as staying up to date with vaccinations, staying home when sick, wearing a mask and cleaning high-touch surfaces to prevent infection and severe illness.

For more information about winter safety, visit


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