Ride and Be Happy

6 reasons why getting out on the trails makes you feel so darned good.

Dealing with the winter season can be challenging for some. Cold temperatures, snow, and short days have many huddling indoors. Fortunately, the same conditions are just what Ontario snowmobilers are looking forward to—except maybe for the short days.

Need some good reasons to look forward to another season on OFSC Prescribed Snowmobile Trails? Here are a few facts about why recreational snowmobiling is good for your physical and mental health.

A red circular OFSC snowmobiling Buy Your Permit logo

1. Snowmobiling Releases Dopamine

Do you know the reason you can't stop smiling while out for a ride? Riding a snowmobile can give you an adrenaline rush and make you feel happier due to dopamine release. This hormone controls mental, emotional, and motor responses. The endorphins released into your body while you ride make you associate riding with happiness and freedom.

2. Snowmobiling Improves Your Physical Health

Even though you often sit when riding a snowmobile, it is an activity that requires a healthy amount of physical input. Snowmobiling builds a strong core and requires strength and flexibility to maneuver on the trails. The average person burns about 238 calories per hour while snowmobiling.

3. Going Snowmobiling Fights Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Enjoy bluebird days on the snow trails. Sunlight deprivation contributes to winter weight gain and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), more commonly known as the winter blues. SAD is a form of depression in which people with normal mental health throughout the year experience depressive symptoms during the winter months. 

4. Riding Snowmobiles Lets You Disconnect From the Digital

In today's day-to-day living, electronics and screens often dominate our time. Snowmobiling allows you to disconnect and focus on the trail ahead and the landscape around you. The benefits of ditching that electronic device for a trail ride are greater mindfulness, improved sleep, deeper connections, and better productivity.

5. You Can Enjoy the Fresh Air When You're Out on Your Sled

Inhale that fresh air! As it turns out, fresh air stimulates us and looking at trees is called 'tree bathing' and reduces stress. Studies show that levels of anxiety and stress are diminished by being outdoors. Fresh air can help raise oxygen levels in your brain, which increases serotonin levels that alter your mood.

6. Snowmobiling Helps You to Meet New People 

Snowmobilers are a social bunch and you never know who you will see at the next stop.

While snowmobiling might appear solitary, we seldom ride alone, so friends are never far away. Pull into a northern Ontario hotel parking lot, restaurant, or trailside warming hut, and you will find yourself among many fellow snowmobilers happy to share their adventures. Meeting new people is easy when we have so much in common.

Learning of the benefits of recreational trail riding on your mental and physical health is no surprise. I have not met a cranky snowmobiler during my many seasons on OFSC Trails. It's good to have some official reasoning as to why everybody is always smiling.

Let's ride and be happy.

*Ontario law requires a snowmobile entering an OFSC Prescribed Snowmobile Trail to display a valid Ontario Snowmobile Trail Permit.

About Martin Lortz

Martin Lortz is a freelance photographer/writer specializing in the outdoor lifestyle. Whether he is covering adventure motorcycling, kayak fishing or family oriented outdoor pursuits, his passion for capturing the beauty of nature and the people that partake in it, is evident in his work. His photos and articles have appeared in magazines such as Ski Canada, Explore, Bike, Mountain Life, Couloir, Kayak Angler and Family Camping, as well as in calendars, catalogs and brochures.

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