It’s getting light later and dark earlier. The temperature is dropping, and soon the rains will start, which will effectively put a pin in many of your outdoor running or cycling activities. Despair not, oh lover of the foothill outdoors! Here are three ways you can use the colder winter months to improve upon your favorite outdoor sports, without ever leaving the gym!
Flex your Muscles: Strength training a necessary part of any workout regimen. If you love getting out and running or biking, you need to be weight training, not only to strengthen the primary movers in your specific sport, but also to condition the opposite and supporting muscles as well. Your favorite sport, no matter what it is, will always favor certain muscles, and under-train others. A runner will smoke their quads on the trails, and surely have some sweet Calf muscles to show for too, but only a well-trained and strong set of Glutes will save your knees long term. Regular weight training also helps to lean out any excess fat that may be slowing you down.
Keep your Balance: Have you heard all the trumpeting lately about how important it is to have a strong “core” working for you? Core and balance training are all the rage, and for good reason. Challenging your balance trains everything between, and including, your Glutes and shoulders. While we all admire a chiseled set of washboard abs, that’s really all they are…abs. Training all the rest of your midsection is easy when you throw yourself off balance, and balance training is easy in the gym. Grab a Bosu or exercise ball and take some of the stability out of your weight training. Better yet, try TRX class and learn how to improve your core with suspension training. Improving your core in an unstable environment evens out your muscle tone, burns a ton of calories in little time, and helps prevent injury.
Stretch to Strengthen: Flexibility isn’t just for gymnasts and cheerleaders. I’m not talking about doing the splits either. Flexibility is simply the ability to move your joints in their full functional range of motion. As tiny rubber people, we started out with great flexibility and range of motion, but as we age and stiffen we all develop trouble spots, and most of the time these tight areas won’t bother us much. But, if you really look closely at your posture and functional range of motion, you’ll probably find that these tight areas are preventing you from reaching your fitness goals. A cyclist might experience low back pain, and never relate it to a totally fixable set of overactive Lats or Hip Flexors, just as a runner may blame knee pain on “overtraining”, when quite possibly an inflexibility in the Calves may be to blame.
It’s easy to get frustrated when it’s too cold or wet to go outside for your favorite activities, but if you use your time wisely and employ a well rounded training plan, you can fix trouble spots, get tighter and leaner, and take your favorite sports to a whole new level!
Don’t forget that our Fit1 trainers are here to help. If you have any questions, just ask!