Walking on Water – Physical Activity after the Winter Holidays

For many people, the winter months are a cozy time of year to stay inside and away from the chilly outdoor weather conditions. This is accompanied by holiday events with good food and treats. Sound familiar?

Now that the holidays have passed, winter has reached its peak and so has its impact on many people’s waistlines from reduced physical activity.

With that, many people use the start of a new year to adopt healthier habits. Strategies that capitalize on this motivation and encourage healthy behaviours could potentially counter the consequences of being less active over the winter holidays.

Dr. Jon McGavock, Co-Lead of the DREAM theme at the Institute and Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics & Child Health, University of Manitoba, led a new study to assess the impact of Winnipeg’s frozen Red River Mutual Trail on user visits, and identify physical activity patterns associated with the trail.

Red River Mutual Trail at The Fork’s, Winnipeg, Manitoba

The study looked at user visits during the 8-10 week time span the river trail was open, compared to the time periods immediately before and after, when approximately 10KM of land trails were accessible to the public.

It was shown that trail visits increased four-fold when the river trail was open and that many of the study participants were achieving the recommended levels of physical activity during this time.

Although the frozen river trail did not reach cold enough temperatures to open this year, we are grateful for the Red River Mutual Trail at The Forks and its contributions to the health of our community.