With snow on the ground and most of the waterways holding hardened surfaces, many summer sports enthusiasts seek ways to stay fit during the winter.
Kayakers and canoeists have a few choices in keeping their fitness levels optimal during the off-season. Swimming is one the best ways to stay in shape. It is a fabulous full-body exercise and will stress the arm and core muscular systems used in paddlesports. Joining a gym, the YMCA or a spa with a pool is the recommended option for people who enjoy swimming.
Gyms and fitness centers offer a variety of indoor workout machines and free weights to keep muscles in motion. Nordic Tracks, Nautiluses, Bowflexes, treadmills, rowing machines, elipticals, stationary bicycles and numerous other machines are often computerized to track the user’s progress, pulse and calories burned. The other factor favoring indoor fitness is that daylight hours are much shorter in the winter.
One minor trouble with indoor fitness programs is that it is indoors, which seems inhibiting to some outdoor exercisers. Here are some outdoor options to try, which give total whole-body workouts.
- Cross country skiing
- Downhill skiing
- Shoeshoeing with ski poles
- Trekking with trekking poles
The last item, trekking, is done with walking shoes or hiking boots and trekking poles, which can be purchased inexpensively at most outdoor outfitters. Leki is one manufacturer of ski and trekking poles, and sometimes poles can be purchased at garage sales or other used sporting equipment outlets.
Many beginning trekkers will fear that people will think they are silly when seen running around without skis strapped to their feet. Here is a vocal response which may work. “My arms are just going along for the ride and I decided to put them to work and help out the legs.”
Trekking up and down hills with poles is like land kayaking. The motion of using the poles is similar to the cadence used in paddling and kayaking, and converts your biped walking system into four-wheel drive. On snowy and slippery surfaces, the poles add extra stability and makes a winter hike much more fun.
A good winter workout with ski or trekking poles is great for triceps, forearms and back muscles. It is recommended that a skier, snowshoeist or trekker stretch legs, arms and shoulder muscles before planting poles on the trails.
Whatever you do to stay in shape, remember that being ready to go on the first day of spring comes from doing something in the winter months to keep your body tuned.