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The winter chill can make even looking out the window feel like you’re turning into an icicle, so it takes some serious mental power to exercise outside during the cooler months. However, getting your daily physical activity is essential for staying healthy and avoiding holiday stress. If you want to skip the cost of a gym membership but still work out, use these tips:
Slipping on ice is a big concern during winter. After all, when you’re walking or running properly, you’re likely not looking at the ground. Even if you do sneak a peek at the sidewalk, you still can’t account for black ice. To avoid getting injured from a fall, wear shoes with non-slip bottoms. You can even buy chains that attach to the bottom of your shoes to create traction and reduce your risk of slipping. Otherwise, just go with a good pair of trail-running shoes.
Of course, it’s also important to dress warm enough for the weather so you don’t develop hypothermia on your morning jog. Opt for layers so you can shed them as you go since you’ll likely warm up once you start exerting energy. Don’t forget to protect areas that are especially susceptible to frostbite such as the ears and fingers.
“Warm ups can increase heart rate, circulation and body temperature.”
Prepare for both the low temperatures and your workout with a warm-up routine. According to Sports Medicine Information, aerobic exercises can increase your heart rate, circulation and body temperature, effectively providing extra warmth before you face the winter chill and allowing you to more readily get into a running rhythm. A bit of stretching in combination with cardiovascular exercises can increase your joint range of motion and prevent injury as well. This is especially important in winter, as you may overextend muscles or move awkwardly in an attempt to regain your balance when moving on ice.
Perform a general exercise warm up that targets all parts of your body. For instance, you can prepare your ankles for a workout with the ankle rocker. To do this, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and slowly rock back and forth from your toes to your heels. Repeat this movement for about 30 seconds. Get your upper body ready for exercise with arm circles. Again, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, this time extending your arms out to either side of you. Make slow, circular motions from your shoulders, going in each direction for about 30 seconds.
You can’t steer clear of every ice patch or pile of snow, but you should at least strategize your running path to avoid as many winter obstacles as possible. For example, while running up and down hills may have been a great way to burn those extra calories in the summer, it can be dangerous in the winter. It’s best to avoid this terrain altogether, advised Jan Ochocki, a coach with the Road Runners Club of America in Minneapolis.
“More falls happen on downhills because you naturally tend to pick up your pace, making it harder to stop when you hit an icy patch,” he told Fitness Magazine.
Additionally, stick to sidewalks instead of the street. Not only are these areas likely clearer than the road, but if you slip and can’t immediately get up, you’d be much safer out of the path of cars.
Don’t forget to unwind with your personal massager after your workout.
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Endurance athletes who take part in marathons, triathlons or century bike rides typically have fitness goals of strength and stamina. Your body needs to be strong enough to carry you long distances, and it needs to have the proper training in order to function for extended periods of time.
Before a race it’s crucial to plan a training program to prepare, and most of this will include running or cycling through intervals of faster and slower speeds, up and down hills and longer and shorter distances. It should also include cross training with strength exercises and core workouts such as Pilates for total body training.
Another factor that should be included in a pre-race program is athletic recovery and stretching. Whether you’re a new or seasoned endurance athlete, you’ll be putting your body through more intense challenges, which is sure to leave you with sore muscles from time to time, but it can also increase your risk of injury. To prevent getting hurt and having a setback, you need to take the proper precautions, which include stretching and massage.
A century bike ride will take you 100 miles, and it will certainly test your mental and physical prowess. This may seem like a lofty goal, but it’s certainly an achievable one that many endurance cyclists aspire to complete.
Being able to bike 100 miles requires serious commitment, dedication, planning and training. Once you decide to take part in a century ride, you need to starting working at least eight weeks beforehand to prepare your mind and body for the challenge ahead. Your training program should consist of long and short rides as well as intervals of different speeds, resistance levels, terrain and hills. It’s also a good idea to cross training with weight lifting to strengthen your muscles and exercises such as Pilates that provide stretching and improve posture.
Another key component is nutrition. Your body won’t be able to last long if it is not being fueled properly. Even slight dehydration can completely zap your energy levels and cause sore musclesand cramps. If this does happen, giving your muscles a massage can help. Additionally, eating the right amount of carbohydrates and fats is needed to fuel your muscles and provide you with the nutrients to keep you going mile after mile. You’ll certainly want to pack snacks to stop and eat during your ride to replenish fuel sources, curb hunger pangs and boost energy. Remember not to pack any foods that are too heavy or hard to transport. A muffin may sound delicious, but it can be messy to eat. Also, be sure not to try any new foods in case it affects your stomach negatively and you have to stop mid-race.
Here are some tasty, helpful snack options to pack for your century ride:
Whether you’re preparing for a cycling race, training for a triathlon or simply appreciate the exhilarating cardio workout you get from riding, your body (the lower half in particular) is certainly being challenged.
Most of your focus will be on the meat of your training – developing programs for each ride to incorporate different terrain, speeds, hills and other aspects of riding itself. But it’s also important to remember that your training doesn’t stop once your session ends. In fact, time spent after you hop off your bike is just as important as time spent on the saddle. Cooling down and taking part in athletic recovery reduces your risk of sore muscles and injuries, which can sideline you and set you back in your schedule. This is especially problematic if you are on a deadline for a race.
After each bike ride you should be taking the time to stretch out your muscles and allow your mind and body to return to their resting states. It’s also useful to incorporate self massage into your routine each week, especially after an intense ride. Massage will help loosen up muscles even further, which is important so you don’t create any imbalances.
There are several key muscles you should focus your massager on after a bike ride: