Red Deerians, others get moving

Well, yes, there’s walking in a winter wonderland. There’s also ice-skating, snowshoeing, skiing, sliding, snowboarding and snacks by an open fire.

Well, yes, there’s walking in a winter wonderland.

There’s also ice-skating, snowshoeing, skiing, sliding, snowboarding and snacks by an open fire.

Red Deerians hit the outdoors in a flurry on Saturday afternoon, taking advantage of a relatively windless day with temperatures hovering around -3C — absolutely balmy for the Canadian Prairies.

It was a perfect sort of day for people who love to keep fit or who have resolved to shed some of the excess they may have packed on during the festive season.

Relaxing with family members after a snowshoe trip around the Gaetz Lakes Sanctuary, Kent Strong of Victoria said he has always tried to instill in his children the importance of physical fitness.

Giving his age as “old enough to collect old-age pension,” Strong still plays hockey three times a week and has set goals for improving his flexibility and perhaps losing a bit of weight.

He and his wife, Wendy were in Red Deer to visit their daughter, Laura, her husband, Roger and their three children, Rachael, Clara and Kai.

A runner, Laura said she had not been snowshoeing in years, probably since grade school.

“It’s tons of fun and it’s beautiful out there.”

Roger, who plays soccer, said they had complimented Kai once everyone got back to the Kerry Wood Nature Centre from their excursion.

“He said, ‘Yeah, I wanted to get some exercise.’”

Upstream from the nature centre, Bower Ponds was bustling with skaters of all levels and abilities, including those who have skated for as long as they have walked and others who were trying it out for the first time.

Wobbling across the walkway on a pair of rented skates, Ken De Guzman said he had never had an opportunity to try ice skates in the Philippines.

A Canadian resident for the past two years, he was having some trouble on his first outing, but vowed that he would be able to skate by the end of the day.

“I think these skates are too big,” said De Guzman, trying to get his ankles straight as he balanced himself on the narrow blades.

Inside the pavilion, Donna Rud and Thomas Holt were each strapping on a set of skates in preparation to venture onto the ice.

For Rud, it would be the first time on ice skates in many years, so she was unsure what kind of experience she could anticipate. Rud said she is taking Burlesque dancing as her primary means of getting fit.

Holt, on the other hand, said his job is his fitness program, requiring him to lift and move about two tonnes of furniture every day.

Back outside, oilfield worker Chris Boucher was holding the fort while his brother and nephew were out on the ice. Putting together a fitness program is nearly impossible given the demands of the job, said Boucher, who was a hockey player in his youth.

For others, there’s nothing like a furry friend to help maintain a good fitness program.

Juanita Reid, out for a walk with her dog, Gus, said taking him to Three Mile Bend is her favourite form of exercise. Because of her job, Reid has to share dog walking duties with her husband. However, on those days when she is able, she likes to take Gus out herself and do two loops of the dog park.