Try a New Winter Sport
Routines are great, but there is nothing quite like adding something new to the mix. Maybe you’re feeling a bit bored with your same gym routine and classes or perhaps that four mile route you run every Saturday morning is feeling a bit stale. Well, how about exploring a new winter activity to keep things fresh and interesting?
Now we’re not going to suggest you try winter mountaineering or ice climbing! Rather we’re thinking of sports and activities that are easily accessible and are appropriate for all fitness levels. These are activities that we enjoy doing during the winter and really can help break up the same-old winter routine that has us dreaming of the warm summer days.
To put it rather simply, snowshoeing is simply walking in the snow! All you need is a pair of snowshoes – either the new aluminum style or the traditional wooden style. Next put on a pair of boots or hiking shoes, winter coat, snow pants or long underwear under some track pants, a hat, mittens, fill a thermos with hot chocolate and put it in your backpack – and get out for a very enjoyable afternoon.
You may live in a community that has a designated snowshoe area, if so pay attention to the trail rules and if possible acquire a map of the trails (this is useful to carry in your backpack should you get a bit turned around on the trails). Some of you are likely able to find a local snowshoeing club that has regular outings of varying durations, this can be a great way to meet new people and discover new trails.
While snowshoeing during the day is wonderful, there is nothing quite like night snowshoeing. To do this safely, make sure you have a durable and bright headlamp, have extra warm clothes in your car, and don’t do this alone (always take a partner with you).
We didn’t make up this activity – it’s very real and extremely popular with all types of cyclists. Fat biking is all about riding the trails in the winter. The very same trails you ride during the summer can be just as fun during the winter. You can choose to purchase a special fat bike that has very wide tires that are specifically designed for riding in the snow or you can simply ride your mountain bike with a very low tire pressure.
Bundle up with a good winter cycling jacket, some layers underneath, snow pants, put on your winter boots, a hat under your helmet, neck tube and some good warm gloves – now you’re all set to ride your bike this winter.
Fat biking is growing in popularity and if you live in an area that has a good mountain biking scene, guaranteed there are people out enjoying the trails in the winter. One of the best ways to find out about fat biking in your community is to stop in at your local bike shop or simply talk to your summer mountain biking friends. When the trails are nicely compacted down, you’ll find you can ride just as easily as you can on the roads and best of all – there are no roots or rocks to worry about. It’s just you, your bike, some good friends, and nature – winter doesn’t get much better!
Cross-country skiing can be as athletic and speedy as you like. Choose from a designated cross-country ski area that has trails groomed for both classic and skate skiing or simply strap on your classic skis and explore the nearby walking or hiking trails.
We’ve seen people skiing along snow-covered bicycle paths along the river and we know people who love climbing big hills and seeing how hard they can push themselves. Really, cross-country skiing is whatever you want it to be. You do need to invest in some skis, poles and boots – but these can easily be purchased second hand at your local sports store or contact your area ski club if they hold a ski swap/sale. Now that you have your skis, put on a light winter coat, some snow pants, a hat, mittens – and you’re all set.
Chances are very high there is a local cross-country ski club in your community that organizes regular ski outings and likely even gives lessons for all ages. If you’ve got young kids, you can always purchase a special sled that you pull while skiing – this way your entire family can get out for a day on the snow. Depending on where you live, you may also be able to ski to a cabin or insulated yurt – if so bring a backpack with some hot chocolate, some snacks and a few items of dry clothes. There is nothing quite like skiing to a cabin, relaxing for a bit with a warm drink and snacks and then skiing back to the car (and there is nothing that says you can’t stop at the coffee shop afterwards either!).
We hope we’ve given you some good ideas to help you break out of your winter exercise routine. Winter is much more enjoyable when you learn to embrace the conditions and the opportunities – and who knows, you just might find that you’ve discovered your new favorite activity.
With anything new though, pay attention to how your body is feeling and remember to listen to any new aches. Supporting your activities with proper nutrition that includes natural supplements such as SierraSil, stretching routines to work out any soreness, and remembering to go at a pace that is enjoyable, will guarantee that your snowshoes, skis, or bike aren’t left collecting dust this winter.
Have you recently discovered a winter activity that has you hooked? Let us know with a comment on Facebook or a Tweet. We’re always looking for new ways to enjoy the winter and help us get outside to enjoy the bright blue sky and sunshine.