Winter wondering – preparing for outdoor activities
As we head into the fall and winter seasons, outdoor workouts necessitate preparation. With proper attire, understanding of the elements and skincare, a magical world of white awaits!
Some common recreational sports during colder seasons include: trail running, hiking, snowshoeing, downhill skiing, cross-country, snowboarding, and ice skating. Most of these require a lot of balance and elements of power related to speed, agility, and quickness. Exercises that recruit hip stabilizers will translate to easier movement in the new terrain. Here are some simple examples:
- Single leg stand- This is a great way to prepare the body for snow. Try to keep the ribs pulled in and the hips even as you lift one leg. Once you can stand on one leg for a minute, try closing your eyes.
- Band side steps- Using one of the bands that are connected in a circle, train your gluteus muscles as well as inner thighs. You can place the band around the ankles or through the arch of the foot (more comfortable if you have hairy legs). Keeping the toes pointed forward, stabilize the core, and take 20 steps to one side then 20 to the other. You will definitely feel the burn!
- Lateral Bounds or Side to Side Jumps- Now that you can comfortably stand on one leg, maybe even with your eyes closed, it is time to kick it up a notch and start working on some power. Again, keeping the toes forward, launch off of one leg to the side, landing on the opposite leg. Absorb the jump by bending at the hip and knee, keeping the chest up, and launch to the other side. Start easy with small jumps side to side, steadily increasing speed and distance. You should always been in control of the movement and should be able to stop on either side with ease.
There is a lot that can be done in preparation indoors, but then how do we approach the change in elements?
It’s important to find the right boots with a medium to high height, making sure they are waterproof. Also essential is a snow jacket and pants with elastic or Velcro at the ankles and wrists to prevent snow from getting in. The right jacket should be multilayered with a shell underneath and hood with a wind guard face protector. More necessities include: long Johns or a base-layer shirt and pants, goggles or sunglasses with anti-glare, a beanie or ear muffs, two pairs of wool socks, and snow gloves (sometimes double layer) for the best protection from the elements.
There are a few things to keep in mind for skincare. Make sure your toe nails are cut far back. Too often pedicure specialists see bruised toenails because of the nails hitting the front of the shoe. Some extras to have on hand are: chapstick to protect against the wind and sun, sunblock for the nose, cheeks and forehead, heat packets for gloves and boots, hand lotion/ face lotion in travel size that can be applied when exposed to the elements for a long time, and Kleenex.
Another important thing to remember is to eat warm, calorie-dense foods. The recommendation for pre and post-workout, cardio-intensive meals is a 4 to 1 ratio of carbohydrate to protein. Oatmeal with almonds and honey is a great pre-workout. If you choose a more protein-dense pre meal such as eggs, make sure to allow a couple hours at minimum for digestion (not just to become usable as energy, but so that you don’t get nauseated). Snacks are good as dried fruit and nuts, sandwiches, string cheese, and if there is access to a warm tea, or coffee, that would help with thermo regulation. A post-workout meal recommendation is calorie-dense, warm foods with high-glycemic carbohydrates like potatoes to help regulate blood sugar levels. Most importantly, remember to drink plenty of water. The cold can be deceiving in relation to sweat-rate, so stay hydrated!