Winter Activities In Decorah And ExercisePresentation Transcript
Assessment of Winter Recreational Opportunities & Facilities in Decorah Iowa Flannery Cerbin, Taylor Hammrich, Kristen Johnson, Lindsay Menke Luther College Psychology of Health and Illness
Regular exercise is beneficial to one’s overall wellbeing. There are numerous benefits including increased life expectancy, decreased risk of diseases, and decreased risk of depression (Myers). The common thought is that physical activity is unsafe or harmful to the body during the winter months, when the temperature is at its lowest. This however, is just one of the several myths believed by many about exercising outdoors during the winter.
Often times, temperatures can deter people from participating in activities they would have participated in during warmer months. Children and adults are more likely to stay indoors during the winter months. One study conducted by a group for the Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport journal, found that elementary aged school children took an average of 1,800 less steps per day in February than compared days in May (Beighle, et al.). Yet, exercising outside in the winter only becomes a problem in very extreme environmental conditions without adequate clothing to provide protection against the wet and the winter (Noakes).
There are several precautionary steps to ensure that the maximum benefits of exercise are reached in any season. The health and psychological benefits of regular exercise far surpass any of the fears associated with exercising outside in the winter.
The purpose of this study was to examine and evaluate the outdoor leisure opportunities and facilities available in Winneshiek County’s largest town- Decorah.
Methods & Participants
The data for this study was gathered by a variety of methods including attending Northeast Iowa Food and Fitness Initiative meetings, academic research, administering a survey, and visiting recreational sites and trails, and retail stores in Decorah.
The survey was a ten question random sampling of 90 Luther College students. We focused on three primary aspects. First, the amount of exercise completed on average per week during the winter and summer months. Secondly it asked what activities were performed in the winter and what activities the respondent would like to participate in during winter. Lastly, the survey asked about what prevents one from exercising in summer and winter months.
Results & Discussion
Our survey supported the notion that individuals physical activity in the winter decreases. Winter outdoor exercise dropped significantly, only 14.5 percent of people surveyed reported exercising outdoors three or more times a week, and well over half of the people surveyed did not exercise outside in the winter. In the winter months though people reported using indoor facilities for exercise more often, only 7.8 percent of the people surveyed said that they did not exercise indoors during the winter months.
The Decorah community offers numerous opportunities for outdoor recreation both through Park and Recreation and Luther College. However, we found there are more organized leagues and recreational activities available in the summer months. Accessibility is just one barrier that prevents people from exercising in the winter. We concluded from our survey weather conditions seemed to be the main deterrent keeping people from regular exercise in the winter. Yet, based on our research we found no extreme risk for exercising in the winter.
Many of the survey respondents cited that hockey/ice skating, broom ball and snowshoeing were all of interest. Decorah Park and Recreation, Luther College and Decorah Bicycles provide opportunities to rent or purchase equipment such as snowshoes and ice skates. In addition, Decorah schools have open gyms for the public community to use free of charge, there are miles of trials for winter hiking, running, shoe shoeing, and cross country skiing.
References Beighle, Aaron. “Seasonality in Children’s Pedometer-Measured Physical Activity Levels.” Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport. . FindArticles.com. 04 Dec. 2008. Kolata, Gina. “Too Cold to Exercise? Try Another Excuse.” The New York Times 17 January 2008. Myers, PhD, Johnathan. "Exercise and Cardiovascular Health." American Heart Association, Inc e2 107 (2007). Noakes, Timothy. (1991). Lore of Running. Human Kinetics Publishers. Walter, Claire. “Myths About cold-Weather Exercise Are, Well, Myths.” Nordic Walking USA 19 January 2008. Photos by: Flannery Cerbin Acknowledgements We would like to thank those who helped us with our project: Dr. Loren Toussaint, Rick Edwards, Teresa Wiemerslage, Dave Harold, Ann Mansfield, Decorah Bicycles & Oneota River Cycles. Figure 2. Factors that prevent Luther College students from exercising regularly during the winter season. Measures Please circle the answer/s which best apply to you How often do you exercise outdoors during the summer? 0 days per week 1-2 days per week 3-5 days per week 5-7 days per week How often do you exercise indoors during the summer? 0 days per week 1-2 days per week 3-5 days per week 5-7 days per week How often do you exercise outdoors during the winter? 0 days per week 1-2 days per week 3-5 days per week 5-7 days per week How often do you exercise indoors during the winter? 0 days per week 1-2 days per week 3-5 days per week 5-7 days per week Which of the following outdoor winter activities do you participate in? Hockey/ice skating Biking Sledding Snow shoeing Downhill skiing Running Cross country skiing Broom ball Walking Other _______________ Which of the following outdoor winter activities would you like to participate in? Same selection as previous question What prevents you from exercising regularly during the winter? Accessibility (can’t afford costs of exercise equipment) Motivation (would rather be doing something else, don’t see the benefits, etc) Equipment (unfamiliar with how to use exercise equipment, no exercise equipment available, etc.) Time (can’t fit exercise into routine, scheduling conflicts with the hours of public exercise facilities or sports leagues, etc) Lack of transportation Physical Disability Weather Conditions (extreme cold, ice, hail, wind, etc) Other________________ What prevents you from exercising regularly during the summer? Same selection as previous question Figure 1 . Percentage of Luther College students and frequency in which they exercise outdoor in the winter