Winter Workout

Exercise Outdoors, Don’t Hibernate

Shoveling snow isn’t much fun, but it’s always surprising just how sore different areas of the body are after shoveling following a big snowfall.

As we enter into the depths of winter, our bodies naturally seek a hibernation state. Many face the thought of exercise with an avoidance mindset, unmotivated and rolled up under a proverbial blanket until the spring sunshine arrives again. It’s important to defy those hibernation urges and fight back against that sluggish mindset. There are plenty of indoor exercise activities to do, whether it’s at home or in the gym. Both my wife and I are dedicated to exercising daily with weight training and cardiovascular exercise, but it’s often a nice change of pace to make exercise an outdoor adventure. A few years ago, we received two pairs of snowshoes as a gift. It was a wonderful gift and we put them to good use the very first chance that we had. It was not only great cardiovascular exercise, but also engaged the leg muscles in a very different way, which we felt during and after.

Enjoy the adventure. We found that walking in deep snow with snowshoes was similar to walking in sand or shallow water, but with more emphasis on resistance, engaging the quadriceps and hamstrings primarily, but also the glutes, abductors, adductors and calf muscles. Our stride was good, as we stayed on top of the snow. The quads and hamstrings were the muscles we felt throughout the entire snowy adventure. The gluteal muscles were used in the deeper snow to power through, and the abductors, adductors and calf muscles provided stability. My wife and I are in great shape and always stay conditioned, but when you introduce a unique movement like snowshoeing, you feel the effort needed during the movement and the soreness of the muscles after in ways that even our conditioning didn’t provide. It was also a lot of fun and very scenic as we walked across our neighbor’s 43-acre organic farm and vineyard. The vines were covered in ice and snow and glistened in the sunlight and the many varieties of livestock were interested in our presence and greeted us as we trudged through the winter winds of the open farm fields. It was a great winter workout and a unique adventure. We look forward to snowshoeing again throughout the winter to create another interesting workout. It makes sitting down by a warm fire after returning from the adventure that much more satisfying. I encourage you to get out there and enjoy the adventure!

Keep your body conditioned. Winter can throw a lot of additional exercise our way. It’s important to keep your body conditioned for the “extra” workouts during the snow-filled winter months. It’s also important to not be lazy about it, but to embrace it as an “extra” workout in addition to your regular training. Some winter sports like skiing, snowboarding and sledding can be a lot of fun, but can still be an opportunity to use muscles in different ways than we are accustomed to. Shoveling snow isn’t as much fun, but it’s always surprising just how sore different areas of the body are after shoveling following a big snowfall. Conditioning the body with specific exercises can help prevent injuries and will lessen the soreness and fatigue from movements that are foreign to your usual workouts.

Winter conditioning exercises. You can add these exercises to your usual routine once per week in the late autumn to prepare and condition your body. You’ll notice the difference!

• Alternating Ski-Downs (sometimes called Ski Jumpers.)

• Squat Jumps With a Medicine Ball

• Burpees

• Plank With Alternating Elbow Touch

• Front Deltoid Raise (with dumbbells)

• Lateral Deltoid Raise (with dumbbells)

• Rear Deltoid Raise (with dumbbells)

John M. DiFazio II

John M. Di Fazio II is a nutrition consultant, a personal trainer, and a massage therapist and has over 25 of experience working in the fitness industry. He was employed by Gold's Gym for 13 years and in 2005 co-founded Remedy Fitness, a unique fitness establishment located in East Setauket, New York. While in the employ of Gold’s Gym, he was recruited into Nutritionalysis, a nutrition company based in Venice Beach, California that specialized in individualized nutrition programs, and received his certification. Excelling in the field, his clientele grew by thousands. While establishing such a full clientele in nutrition and personal training, John also graduated from the State University of New York at Stony Brook with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and also graduated from the New School for Holistic Health & Research in Long Island, New York with a degree and a New York State license for massage therapy. For more information, visit remedyrecipes.net

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