HOLIDAY TIP:

Getting Ready for Winter Sports

The snow is coming soon. Are you ready to play? Whether you are a fan of downhill skiing, snowboarding, snow shoeing or cross-country skiing, its time to get in shape for winter sports.

Remember - an outdoor workout is no fun if you aren't prepared - physically and materially. In other words, you need to be physically in shape. But you also need to have the proper gear to make your outdoor excursions as fun as possible. So, here are some tips to help you prepare for fun in the snow:

The Gear:

  1. Being cold takes all the fun out of winter sports. Take a trip to your local outdoor supply store and spend a few dollars on some good waterproof, sweat repelling, breathable clothes. Your best bet for warmth is fleece. And for moisture wicking, go with polypropylene or a similar fabric. Don't forget about covering your head and your hands. These often-uncovered spots allow for a lot of heat loss. Look for a warm hat that fits comfortably and doesn't scratch. My favorite is wool lined with fleece.
  2. If you aren't so lucky to have snow where you live, but get the wetter stuff -sometimes referred to as "liquid sunshine" - don't let this stop you from getting out. Pull out a waterproof jacket and some wind pants and be on your way!

The Workout:

  1. If you plan to hit the slopes this year, it's well worth putting in some time now to get your legs ready. There's nothing worse than having to retire to the lodge early due to rubber legs when you could be taking one more run. Plan for two days each week of the following exercises: squats, lunges and stair steps. Two sets of ten repetitions of each exercise should do the trick.
  2. If you typically jog or cycle, consider switching to these exercises: stair climbing, cross-country skiing, or rowing. These exercises are pretty intense on the legs and also include arm movements. Don't forget how much you use your arms when you ski.
  3. If you belong to a gym that offers a winter conditioning class - by all means, join it. These classes can be a great change of pace, plus they are a tough workout.
  4. If you don't belong to a gym, try to include exercises in your routine that move in lateral directions. We tend to do all forward movement, in a very regular and stiff pattern. But when you are out in the wilds of winter - you have to be prepared to go anywhere your skis take you. And for me, that's not always the direction I planned!

The Warning:

  1. Don't be fooled into thinking that alcohol warms you up. In fact, it can provide you with a false sense of warmth that may cause you to allow your body to get even colder than it was previously. Maintain a safe body temperature by dressing warmly and staying on the move. Know the signs of hypothermia.
  2. Keep your head about you. Winter accidents happen when people forget about the power of Mother Nature.

Have fun!

For more information check out these winter weather safety rules at: weathereye.kgan.com

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