Students stay active during winter months


Photo submitted by Maggie Jones

Snow covered trees during the winter. Shows the difficulties of going outdoors in the snow.

“For us in Minnesota, it is to embrace the cold,”  Darrel Salmi, Weight room Trainer said. As people who live in Minnesota, we all know how cold it gets during the winter time. For some, when winter comes around it means it’s time to take out the skates, skis, or snowboard. But for some it is time to hit the couch and watch Christmas movies all day, But what happens when people do this is our body and mind shut down and we don’t get the important benefits that come from the activities that we could be doing. 

In the winter, many people shut down and stop continuing with the activities that keep people’s body active. With this many people see activities to only be beneficial for the body. But in reality staying active is one of the best things people can do for their mental health. 

“Mind and Body are connected, and physical activity supports both our emotional health, social health, and physical health,” Salmi said. When someone does a physical activity their entire brain is stimulated and active making someone much more responsive and mentally engaged. 

When talking about all the beneficial things that come from staying active they have to go back to the start, finding that activity in the winter that they enjoy and are able to engage in. “Finding activities that we can grow, improve, and gain confidence with is an integral part of enjoying the human experience.” Alex Maas, mental health therapist said.

 It may take some time to find that activity that they truly enjoy and want to keep doing, but when people find it, they see lots of physical, but also mental benefits. 

Sometimes it is really hard to find an activity that a person actually enjoys, here in Minnesota when it gets cold we lose some of the outdoor activities that are enjoyable in the other seasons, but also gain a lot of activities that some people don’t even know about. There are a lot of activities out there that some people do not even try or even think about.

Finding activities that we can grow, improve, and gain confidence with is an integral part of enjoying the human experience.”

— alex maas

Maas said that finding what works for you, is part of the fun. In order for people to find what works for them, they have to step out of their comfort zone and try something new, like ice skating, skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and even curling. Things like these are just some of the physical activities that people can do. But there are also some mental activities such as baking, drawing, writing, or music. 

“Find what sparks your joy and begin to generate some momentum, sense of productivity and growth,” Maas said.

Generating momentum is looked at as difficult and challenging, but all you need is that one spark that just gets the ball rolling, once it starts it is hard to stop. One way that people can spark that momentum is by going to the gym. 

The gym is a perfect place to start and many are open all year around. A good option would be the PAC in Stillwater, it is a place that many people should take advantage of during the winter. The PAC contains an indoor walking/running track, cardio room, weight room, four gymnasiums, and locker rooms. The pricing is one of the cheapest in the area, around $12 a month for almost everything you need to keep your body moving and active. Salmi said it’s fun to see kids out there after school.

“The key is to form that habit, once we develop that, that’s where we’re going to progress,” Salmi said. Habits are hard to create at first, but they are the building blocks to everything needed for people to spark joy and create momentum.