Staying Fit Through the Winter
Wintertime activity can be challenging here in the Northwest. Our days
are shorter, the nights are longer, and lets face it
rains a lot! As if thats not bad enough, from time to time our
normal walking routine can get old. The reality is that sometimes we
just need a little change to regain some lost motivation. Perhaps you
should ask yourself these questions: Do I ever get bored with my same
walking routine? Do I sometimes feel as though no matter how long or
fast I walk, I just cant get beyond my current fitness level?
If so, then perhaps its time to consider crosstraining.
crosstraining is the combination of implementing two or more types of
exercise into your physical activity routine. For example, instead of
walking every day, you walk one day and bike or swim the next. When
you repeat the same movements of exercises over and over, it can make
you a very good walker. But it also can keep you from moving beyond
a certain level of conditioning and puts you at risk for injury from
overworking the same muscles. By working different muscles, crosstraining
helps you to avoid injury and reach new levels of fitness.
Here are a few great crosstraining activities in each of the four major
fitness categories that you can choose as an alternative to walking:
Swimming, dancing, cycling (outdoor and stationary), jumping rope, rowing,
stair climbing, elliptical trainer, snowshoeing, hiking.
Free weights, weight machines/circuit training, bands and tubes, stair
climbing, elliptical trainer, Pilates, snowshoeing, hiking.
Yoga, Pilates, ballet, other stretching exercises.
Yoga, Tai Chi, snowshoeing, leg-strengthening exercises (machines, weights,
chair exercises, stair climbing).
Crosstraining offers advantages for both competitive walkers and those
who walk simply to keep in shape and manage their weight. Why should
you crosstrain? In addition to a few of the aforementioned benefits,
here are more:
Crosstraining adds variety to your workouts to keep you interested.
You can use traditional training methods like cycling and swimming as
well as exercise on various machines or enjoy the mountains by snowshoeing.
Crosstraining develops your entire body, rather than specific
parts or energy systems (aerobic versus anaerobic).
Crosstraining will distribute the load of training among various
body parts, thus reducing the risk of injury.
Crosstraining keeps you training while youre injured. When
one body part is injured, you can train using different muscles and
Activities that you may want to consider include: Step aerobics, stair
climbing, elliptical trainer, and weight training. Almost all local
gyms or health clubs will have these items available. The following
are a few questions you should ask yourself when selecting your health
club of choice:
Are staff members friendly and helpful?
Is the club clean and well maintained?
Do fitness staff members have appropriate educational backgrounds
and/or certification from nationally recognized certifying agencies?
Are new members provided with a club orientation and instruction
on how to use equipment?
Does the club have the cardiovascular resistance equipment I
want and need to achieve my fitness goals?
Are there long lines at the equipment, or crowded aerobics classes
at the time I would be using the club?
Is childcare available?
have not used a gym or health club before, dont be intimidated.
Choose the club that best fits your personality, wants, and desires.
Be sure to seek the help and guidance of certified personal trainers
to help you become familiar with the equipment and ensure that you get
started on the right foot!
I recommend looking for a local yoga/Pilates studio where its sole focus
is yoga or Pilates. The professionals at these locations are specially
trained with the proper certification offering one-on-one attention,
as well as small class size offerings that ensure you receive the greatest
you gain from these activities? How about core stability and balance,
increased flexibility, complete detoxification, toning of muscles, and
an increased lubrication of joints, ligaments, and tendons to name a
If youre looking for an outdoor alternative to walking, then I
recommend hiking and snowshoeing. These activities will help you build
both your strength and endurance, while your options of locations to
choose from are all within an hour.
of the exercise you choose, remember to start a new activity slowly,
and gradually build on your routine. Allow enough time at the beginning
and end of your workout to warm up and cool down. Consult your doctor
before starting a new routine if you have specific health concerns.
Sobolik has a degree in Exercise Physiology and is the co-founder of
Fit Right Northwest, Portland and Vancouver. For more information you
may contact Dave at email@example.com