LET’S PLAY OUTSIDE!

During the December 15th press conference, Premier François Legault announced his plans to encourage the people of Quebec to enjoy going outside and be as physically active as possible during the holidays. It was being said that to encourage people to move more (while staying 2 meters apart), outdoor winter sports are permitted for groups of up to 8 people at a time. Isn't this good news for Quebecers? Yes! Families and friends now have the possibility to have a safer and innovative way to interact with each other over the holidays. Let us look at the benefits of enjoying the outdoors and being active while making sure that the food you eat will help you have the energy you need to stay warm and be as healthy as possible. But first let’s look at the advantages of being physically active.

THE BENEFITS OF PHYSICAL ACTIVITY

Not only is there less spread of the virus during sports activities practiced outdoors than indoors, but the fact of moving, naturally brings its share of positive outcomes including:

  • Better quality of life
  • Good self-esteem
  • The feeling of being more energetic
  • Being more independent
  • Stress reduction
  • Better endurance
  • Maintenance of bone and muscle mass
  • Better blood sugar control
  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Better cholesterol levels
  • Helps keep a healthy
  • Improved blood circulation

PERSONAL ANECDOTE

From mid-March to mid-November 2020, I had the chance to ride my bike to the office. As a healthcare professional I have the privilege of giving online conferences to various groups of people from my office. This is how, every morning and evening for the past 8 months, I found a way to enjoy the outdoors from the seat of my white bicycle. I can tell you that this hour of daily cycling helped me cope with the first part of the pandemic.

3 NUTRITIONAL TIPS TO HELP YOUR OUTDOOR SPORTS

Try eating before going out to enjoy your physical activity

It is more pleasant to go outside and play after having eaten ahead of time, this helps you avoid being hungry and gives you the energy you need to enjoy your activity. For example, having breakfast, lunch, and supper could contribute in making you feel satisfied and energetic when playing outside. Eat what suits you according to your preferences, cooking skills and the availability of food in your kitchen. Here is an example for each meal:

  • Breakfast: Oatmeal sprinkled with chia seeds, along with a toast spread with peanut butter and banana slices
  • Lunch: Squash and carrot soup, accompanied by a turkey (or tofu)
  • Supper: Sautéed vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, red peppers) and legumes (black and red beans) served on a bed of quinoa

Carry your water bottle with you to hydrate yourself as you need

We often think of carrying around a water bottle in summer more than in winter, but be aware that regardless of the season, water replaces some of the fluids lost in sweat, and prevents dehydration (which could lead to irritability). Water also helps transport oxygen and energy to muscles. I know that many of you are bothered by the effects of water in winter, especially the urge to urinate, a little tip is to drink small sips during your outside activity and once you are back at home, drink water according to your thirst.

When exercising outdoors for more than an hour or if you feel hungry when getting back: Eat a healthy snack!

Eating, and drinking after exercise helps you recover and prepares you for the next time you go outside to play in the snow. Here are some examples of snacks, the amount varying according to your hunger:

  • Hot chocolate milk (soy or oat beverage), mixed with cocoa and maple syrup (1 tbsp each in 1 cup of milk)
  • A fruit (apple / orange / clementine / pear) accompanied by some nuts (pistachios / pecans / almonds / walnuts)
  • As they are growing, children and teens are hungrier, a bowl of whole grain cereal might be an idea for them to eat

From the bottom of my heart, I with you a beautiful and safe holiday season. May you take advantage of that little time away from your regular activities to play outside!

Crédit photo potage : Érika Martin

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