Family time shouldn’t end just because the holidays have passed. You can work through the winter blues by stepping outdoors, exercising, and enjoying quality time together all through the coming months.
When you’re looking for fun activities that are safe and easily accessible, Frost Valley YMCA hosts Family Winter Weekends and other events that help you and your kids realize the many benefits of getting outside:
1. Fill Your Lungs With Fresh Air
There’s something very satisfying about taking that first deep breath of cold, winter air before starting hours of fun outdoor play. Frost Valley, based in Claryville, offers access to a natural landscape that stretches across more than 5,000 acres in the “forever wild” Catskill Mountains, so there’s plenty of fresh air to go around!
In addition, studies show that children who are active outside develop a stronger autoimmune system and a resistance to allergies. During winter months, playing outside also allows children to escape from indoor germs and bacteria.
2. Engage in Exercise
Outdoor play is a great way to build muscle mass, endurance, and balance. During a Family Winter Weekend at Frost Valley, participants of all ages can explore the true beauty of winter with recreational options such as a half-day snowshoe hike. Snowshoeing is a low-impact, easy-to-learn activity that can help you achieve cardiovascular fitness and reduce your chance of heart disease. Likewise, cross-country skiing is excellent for building endurance, working a variety of muscles, and seeing a larger expanse of natural splendor around Frost Valley’s East Valley Ranch.
Snowtubing, sledding, and ice-skating on Lake Cole are other popular winter pursuits at Frost Valley that burn calories and are relatively low-impact. Although, there is another definition for “impact” — as in the force of your rear-end hitting the snow or ice when you take a fall — but we won’t go there …
Frost Valley also has indoor facilities such as a climbing gym, floor hockey arena, and archery range, so the fun never has to end.
3. Improve Your Mood
Exposure to the great outdoors—bonding with nature, as it were—can increase positive emotions, decrease stress, and contribute to overall well being. During invigorating winter recreation, endorphins and adrenaline are released into the bloodstream, flushing away those winter blahs.
4. Learn While You Play
Frost Valley programs are not only geared toward keeping the body fit, but also building a healthy spirit and mind. During a Family Winter Weekend, you can learn survival skills for freezing temperatures, how to track animals in the snow, and how animals have adapted to survive the Catskill winters. You can also stimulate the imagination as you look for birds and other woodland creatures alongside hiking trails.
Photographs by Sara Munoz (left) and Shelle Edge (right)
5. Have Fun as a Family
Nothing makes children more motivated for outdoor winter play than watching Dad be the first to strap on a pair of skis or seeing Mom’s excitement as she comes upon the perfect spot to build a snowman! These activities offer great opportunities to bond. And when Frost Valley’s recreational pursuits are done for the day, there’s always a warm place inside where you can sip hot cocoa by the fire, participate in arts and crafts, and share a little quiet time.
Frost Valley — which offers teambuilding experiences, retreats for active older adults, and other special opportunities in addition to family outings — provides healthy and delicious meals, as well as a variety of comfortable lodging options ranging from cozy camp cabins to luxurious accommodations in the historic Forstmann Castle.
The Frost Valley staff encourages you and your family to put down the remote, lift yourself off the sofa, and get outdoors to enjoy the magic of the season in a stress-free environment.
Frost Valley provides people of all ages and abilities with enriching, even life-altering, outdoor experiences all year long. Located on more than 5,000 acres in the heart of the Catskill Mountains, just two hours north of New York City, Frost Valley offers year-round access to nature, adventure, environmental education, and fun.
To register your family for a weekend retreat, contact Frost Valley by email at email@example.com or via phone at 845-985-2291 ext. 450. Look for information about Family Winter Weekends and other events online at http://frostvalley.org/events.
Interested in a yearly outdoor sporting membership? Contact the Department of Natural Resources for details about unlimited access to hiking, fishing, cross-country skiing, and to receive an information packet: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 845.985.2291 ext. 397.
Frost Valley YMCA
2000 Frost Valley Road
Claryville, NY 12725
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