New Strategies of Creating Wellness in Winter -

OVERVIEW: This work was completed through a collaboration between Hennepin

County Public Health and Hennepin County Housing and Economic

Development. Funding for this project was provided from the

Minnesota Department of Health through the Statewide Health

Improvement Partnership (SHIP).

For many, winter can be a challenging time to maintain an

active lifestyle. COVID-19 restrictions may greatly reduce

access to indoor spaces that many usually rely on during

the colder months, such as gyms, studios, indoor play

areas, pools, and shopping malls.

Communities can address these needs by re-imagining

the types o

f wellness activities that happen outdoors.

Engaging and supporting those who have not

participated in outdoor winter activities in the past will

be important to provide all community members an

opportunity to participate.


• Think about indoor winter activities your community

has done in the past that could be taken outdoors,

such as exercise classes, craft making, organized


• Turn your summer activities into inclusive winter

fun: 5k runs, slow-roll winter bike events, snoga

(snow-yoga). These can be informal community

building opportunities, or potentially take on a formal

fundraising opportunity to rally around families,

organizations or causes struggling with finances or

other COVI

D-19 impacts.

• Work with community partners to eliminate barriers to

entry for underrepresented communities to participate

in classes, workshops, and events. These could include

ice skating, cross-country skiing, broomball, winter

biking, and winter safety education.

• Work with community partners to provide free

or subsidized winter activity equipment for

underrepresented communities, such as ice skates,

bike lights, cross country skis, snow shoes.

New Strategies of Creating Wellness

in Winter


EGY 1:

Q: How can we better support

people’s physical wellness and

active living with limited use of

indoor space?

A: Fully embrace what is

possible outside and support

those who are less comfortable

venturing out.

New Strategies of Creating Wellness in Winter 7

• Launch a donation drive for the procurement of free or

subsidized equipment.

• Ensure that your sidewalks and park trails are

sufficiently well lit, shoveled, and free of ice. More

maintenance may well be required this season than in

years past due to higher rates of use.



Here are some key messages and information to consider

sharing with the public:

• We as a community are coming together to support

each other’s well being this winter.

• Make a pledge and join an online group to support

your commitment to winter wellness activities this


• Join fellow community members every week/month to

participate in winter activities at X time and X location.

• Constraints require us to get creative! Let’s band

together to come up with ways new and old to

navigate this unique winter together.


• Snow yoga (“snoga”) via MPR

• “The Frosty Challenge” (a winter weight maintenance

program). A worksite resource of the Hennepin County

Public Health Promotion.

• Hennepin County winter recreation opportunties via

Three Rivers Park District

Outdoor Places to Support

Commercial and Social Activity


Keeping people warm, engaged, illuminated, and

connected to other people are the key ingredients to

support winter activity.

Warm The goal is to have people feel warm “enough”.

You don’t need everything to be climate controlled,

but people need to be able to stay at a baseline level

of warmth and to recharge when needed. For areas like

outdoor restaurant patios, visitors need to be near a

constant source of warmth, such as gas or electric heaters

and fire pits, complemented by blankets and/or seat

warmers. Protection from the wind is also critical and can

be created through wind-breaks made of wood, tarps,

plastic, or other materials.

Engaged Having constant opportunities for engagement

is the best recipe to combat the idea that “bored people

are cold people”.

Illuminated The quality and impact of lighting becomes

a constant concern when faced with early sunsets.

Simple string lights in boulevard trees remain an effective staple

that not only illuminates but creates a feeling of warmth

and invitation. Video projections are a type of light source

that can become destinations themselves.

Connected To cultivate success make sure that your

events are in proximity to other community destinations.

In normal times, the solution is to pack as many activities

within your main street district as possible. But during

COVID-19, crowd size must be limited. Winter solutions

include increased wayfinding, the use of itineraries and

maps, low intensity activations occur over days and weeks

instead of larger features for just one day, and having

smaller “pods” of activities throughout a park or main

street area.

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