How to Warm Up to Old Man Winter
Want to make winter a little easier on you? In today’s post we discuss the benefits of physically preparing for winter with fitness training specific to your winter sports and training your body to become stronger for the more treacherous winter terrain!
Winter Sport Specific Fitness Training
Do you like to ski, snowboard, snowshoe or snowmobile? All of these different winter activities use different muscles. As certified personal trainers, we always recommend that our clients change up their workout programs to target the muscles they’ll be using in their seasonal sports so they can improve performance and avoid serious injuries.
If you choose to train on your own without a personal trainer’s direct instruction, look to how your body is positioned in each of your winter sports in order to choose the right exercises for you. How is your posture in your sport? How should it be to increase your efficiency? Which muscles do you need to do perform your sport with precision?
Most winter sports require more stability and balance as snow and ice are known for their slippery qualities. So you’ll want to focus on exercises that increase your stability and balance, such as core exercises. (For a few examples, check out our post on 7 Core Exercises (For a Super Easy Way to Get Fit!).
Making Winter Living Easier & Safer
Even if you don’t engage in winter sports, winter conditions make living in this type of climate more physically challenging and even dangerous for some people.
For instance, have you ever slipped on some ice and gone crashing down like a ton of bricks? If you’re older and you don’t workout regularly, you may have broken some bones. Working out increases your bone density (no matter your age) as well as builds the muscles surrounding your bones to protect your more fragile skeletal frame. In a nutshell, working out augments your capacity to take a beating from Old Man Winter!
Increasing your ability to take a fall is one thing, it’s a preventative measure, but what about more practical reasons for physically preparing for winter?
Most of us who live in snowy areas need to shovel. If you’re not physically prepared for it, shoveling can cause you a lot of pain. Many snow-dwellers overwork underused muscles and will experience 2 to 3 days of pain as their muscles heal from tearing. Also, if your muscles aren’t strong enough and you shovel the wrong way, you can permanently hurt your back and experience reoccurring pain for years down the road.
As an even more important note about shoveling, we probably don’t need to remind you how it’s a great cardiovascular workout. As such, those with heart conditions are at an increased risk of a heart attack with this activity if they’re not careful.
With the proper fitness training, however, you can prepare your body for winter activities like shoveling. If you can`t afford a personal trainer and are ever in doubt about what areas of the body you should be working, then focus on increasing your core strength. All movement originates from this area so if it`s strong, then you`ll have inadvertently increased your stability and balance for whatever life brings you.
How to Avoid Winter Weight Gain
No matter where you live, whether it’s in the suburbs of a large city or a small town, winter weather doesn’t encourage anyone to get outside and walk. We tend to hibernate and avoid exposing ourselves to the chilly weather as much as possible.
The decrease in our natural activity levels in the winter create slower metabolisms. Add into the mix our natural tendencies to increase our consumption of warmer, more congesting and calorie-laden winter foods (like stews, chili, casseroles, etc.), and our winter clothes soon become tight and uncomfortable!
Compensate for these winter realities by booking an extra session with your personal trainer or scheduling an extra workout session on your own. Also, be more conscious of your calorie intake by measuring it up against your winter activity levels. The more active you are, the more calories you can safely consume without too much repercussion. If exercise is low on your priority list, then you`ll want to also lower your calorie intake.
Ok, so you can call us a bunch of crazy fitness fanatics but it`s only because we know how easier life can be when we`re fit and strong – in both body and mind! Winter is actually the perfect excuse to be more aware of our fitness and diet.
Do you have specific exercises you engage in to prepare for the winter months, either for a specific sport or simply to adjust to the wintery conditions in your area?