Posted 11:26 a.m. Monday, Feb. 1, 2021
What’s New Wednesdays to cover winter recreation activities
Laurie Harmon wants to help you fend off the winter blues.
Harmon, a professor in UW-La Crosse’s Recreation Management & Therapeutic Recreation Department, will present on the connection between recreation and overall health and well-being during the February installment of the UWL Alumni Association’s What’s New Wednesdays series.
“Staying active is probably even more important now than in the summer, not because we need more activity, but because we tend to want to hibernate and move less during the winter,” Harmon notes. “Outdoor recreation releases endorphins, and endorphins make us happy. With less daylight hours and a tendency to want to hunker down, we need to make sure we do activities that release endorphins, as well as ensure that we burn off the calories we consume.”
Harmon admits that cold and snow can make recreating seem more challenging, but it doesn’t make it impossible. Activities that require minimal equipment, she says, are often the most accessible.
“While we certainly can get out our skis, snowshoes, snowmobiles, fat-tire bikes and other gear, there are other options, too,” she explains. “With nothing more than some warm clothes, we can also participate in outdoor activities such as sledding, winter hiking, birding, photography, phenology, and scavenger hunts.”
Even puzzles or board games, she says, can help break the monotony of being indoors.
Harmon will share a few family-friendly outdoor activities, as well as the specific benefits of getting out of the house and taking in some fresh air.
This is especially critical given that many people have been cooped up for not just the past few months, but for much of the past year due to COVID-19.
“Not only are we struggling with staying in and having to remain distanced from the ones we love, we are also navigating a great deal of national loss as a result of COVID-related deaths and illness,” says Harmon, noting the steady stream of bad news and the tendency among some people to “doom scroll.”
“Stepping away from the screen,” she says, “lets our brain reset and allows us to breathe.”
How to watch
Harmon’s presentation, “Update your pandemic plan: More leisure, more recreation, more relaxation,” is set for 12 p.m. CST Wednesday, Feb. 24.
Click here to register for this free event. The link to the presentation will be emailed to attendees by 4 p.m. CST Tuesday, Feb. 23.