The residents of Ottawa all know the winter can be difficult. For about six months out of the year the weather is typically less than ideal and short days make it nearly impossible to wake up in the morning (who wants to wake up before the sun?) So that being said, when I see people choosing to sit inside instead of the patio on a beautiful day, I can hardly understand it. Ottawa is situated in one of the best places geographically in Canada, in my opinion. We have the luxury of living in a “big city” atmosphere, amazing dining, great nightlife with the Byward Market and a fantastic hockey team, but we also have that small town feel. We have great green space with our parks, bike paths, the Rideau canal and we are ideally situated a short drive from the beautiful Quebec with the Gatineau Hills.
Therefore most of us residents of Ottawa want to spend as much time as possible outside this time of year, especially after the winter we just experienced. This is also a great way to get active if you have been putting it off (like I have), and we are lucky enough to live in a City that makes this quite attainable. That being said I have created a list of some ways to get outdoors and get active:
- Exercise does not always mean going to the gym or doing the same workout routine every day. Summer makes is easy to add different modes of exercise and allows you to change it up so you won’t get bored.
- Go for a walk. Yes I know this is an obvious option but how many of us really do it? This especially helps if you are stressed or having a difficult time sleeping at night. I know from experience it is hard to motivate yourself to exercise when you’re feeling the pressure from work or life, so get outside and take a short walk and I guarantee it will help clear you mind.
- Explore the city. There are fantastic neighborhoods in Ottawa worth spending some time exploring and shopping. Hintonburg and the Glebe are some of my favorites with great shops and restaurants that you’ll never know existed and very accessible by walking.
- Outdoor markets. The Parkdale market is awesome and open daily from dawn to dusk, check it out instead of going to the grocery store for produce! Westboro recently started doing one in Byron park Saturdays 9:30am-3:00pm. They have everything you could ever want from produce to meat to jewelry. Brewer park also offers one Sundays 8:00 am-3pm and Centrum Plaza in Orleans Fridays 10:00am-3:00pm. I can’t recommend these enough! (you will also be supporting local vendors and what’s better than that?)
- Bike paths. Utilize these! We have over 300km of bike paths in the Ottawa-Gatineau region. The great thing about many of these bike paths are they are off the roads so it’s a good activity to do with the kids. These can also be used for walking, rollerblading etc. The canal is always a popular one, as well as the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway. For more information on finding the right bike paths visit this website: http://www.canadascapital.gc.ca/things-to-do/cycling
- Ever been to Gatineau Park? There is lots to do including cycling, hiking, swimming, rock climbing, even guided tours! The park also has great picnic areas so bring a lunch and spend the day! For more information on the park: http://www.canadascapital.gc.ca/places-to-visit/gatineau-park
- Yoga lover or ever wanted to try? Lululemon offers free yoga on Parliament Hill every Wednesday 12pm-1pm. All levels welcome! Yoga is a great way to get some exercise and spend some time outdoors if you have been in the office all morning. Don’t be intimidated if it’s your first time! There are teaching assistants there to help and you have the freedom of going at your own pace. Try it out! You might end up loving it.
These are just some of the many resources Ottawa offers to get outside this summer. Remember: do everything at your own pace! Now get outside and get the most out of your summer