Do you love winter? Be honest! Many of us don’t. Winter is typically associated with shortened days, decreased sunlight, and less than ideal workout conditions. But don’t let that discourage you from getting outdoors. It’s the perfect antidote to the winter blues, fantastic exercise, and it can offer a way to connect with friends and loved ones in a safer, physically distanced way. (As always, abide by your local recommendations and rules.)
Fall in love with the outdoors
Seasonal affective disorder has been linked to increased fatigue, anxiety, and tension. But exercising leaves you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated by stimulating the production of feel-good chemicals in your brain. Even being in the presence of nature has positive effects. The mountains offer incredible scenery for which your brain is hard-wired. This is sure to boost your mood and relieve stress.
Why prepare your body for the mountain?
A few wintertime favorites include skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. However, being physically ready for your favorite activity requires more than just a weekend warrior mentality. Chances are if you’re ill-prepared, your performance will suffer and your likelihood for injury will increase.
Maintaining a strong body will ensure your risk for injury is minimized. Also, it will provide you with the confidence to make good decisions, push yourself, and recognize your limitations.
Warm-up for efficiency
A dynamic warm-up is key to preparing your body for any mountain sport. It consists of exercises designed to mimic movement paths you’ll be completing during activity. Warming up helps lubricate joints, activate key muscle groups, increase blood flow, and stimulate your nervous system.
Here are some exercises that will help prepare your body for your favorite mountain adventure.
Complete 12 to 15 repetitions and 1 to 2 rounds of each exercise.
- From a standing position, with your feet shoulder-width apart, push your hips back and lower your body toward the ground.
- Keep your chest up, back straight, and weight over your heels.
- When your thighs are parallel with the ground, drive your hips forward and explode upward.
- Land with your knees bent and continue back into a squat position.
- From a normal standing position, step out to the right and sweep your left leg behind you while bringing your left arm across your body.
- Then step to the left, bringing your right leg behind you and your right arm across your body. Continue alternating sides while building up speed and explosiveness.
- Make it more challenging by jumping side to side.
Alternating Jumping Split Squats
- Stand in a lunge position with feet hip-width apart, chest up, and shoulders pulled back.
- Flex both knees and lower your hips, ensuring your forward knee does not extend past your toes.
- When your back knee is almost touching the ground, propel your body upward and reverse the position of your legs.