Search Google Appliance


Tobogganing: The Only Time Your Exercise Routine Can Slide

December 8, 2016 by HealthyFamiliesBC

Tobogganing can be exercise for the whole family

I have fond memories from childhood of Saturday winter mornings. After cartoons, my whole family would get our snowsuits on and we’d head over to the local town hill for a few hours’ tobogganing. No fancy gimmicks for us, just a few crazy carpets and the trusty family toboggan. It’s fair to say my siblings and I were pretty tired after a morning of sliding down the hill then walking back up only to slide down again. And again. And again. We burned a lot of energy which, I imagine, really helped my mother enjoy some more leisurely afternoons.

Why go sledding?

  1. IT’S FUN! I could end here as that’s a good enough reason in my books, but there’s more.
  2. Sledding  provides children with an opportunity for unstructured active play.
  3. It’s a pleasurable way for kids to get 60 minutes of daily physical activity (the minimum amount recommended by Canadian guidelines). Adults can join in and get their exercise, too.
  4. A day out playing in the snow is a wonderful way to spend quality time together. Doing fun things as a family is one way to build strong family relationships.

What about safety concerns?

People have been sledding for many years and as long as you protect yourself and your family, it can continue to be a happy experience. To stay safe and injury free, do a walk around the area first and make sure it’s free of obstacles if using a hill in a park or elsewhere in your community. Make sure there is a lot of space to stop safely at the bottom and that there are no hazards (like roads, lamp posts or other large solid objects). Check out more safety tips here.

Dress in layers to prevent cold injuries; the wind from going downhill will add an extra cooling factor. When outside in cold weather with children under 3 years old, read these special considerations.

Ready to have fun?

Sledding is fairly simple. You need a) snow, b) a hill, and c) a sliding instrument. Our Northern BC readers probably already have snow, but for those in the lower mainland and southern islands, local ski resorts usually have a hill just for sledding. How to choose your sliding instrument? Here are some options:

  • Toboggan: My favourite are made of wood and have a nicely curved front. You can usually sit three to four persons. This is as Canadian as it gets!
  • Luge: Can also be made of wood but usually has sliders (to help guide it) and only sits one. Luges are pretty fun and fast.
  • Crazy carpet: Super easy to carry and cost effective. It’s simply a piece of flexible plastic (size of a bathroom carpet) with two holes in front for handles.
  • GT Racer: If you were around in the 80’s and 90’s you know what these are about! They are like a luge but have a steering wheel which moves a front ski and they also have brakes so you can stop suddenly.

Like the idea of winter sports? Well, along with tobogganing, there’s many to try:

Can you do all of them this winter? Which is your favourite? You can vote for your favourite Canadian activity as part of ParticipACTION’s 150 playlist. Check it out – tobogganing is a contender!

Related blogs

Get Ready for Ski and Snowboard Season
Discover Your Winter Wonderland by Snowshoe

Recommended resources

Parachute Canada: Winter Safety
ParticipACTION: Bring Back Play Tobogganing



HealthyFamilies BC Tools

Breastfeeding Buddy

Breastfeeding Buddy


Sodium Sense

Sodium Sense


Your Virtual Shopping Tour

Shopping Sense


How Much Sugar Are You Drinking?

Sugary Drink Sense