How to Stay Active
in the Winter Season
Staying active in the winter can sometimes feel like a contradiction. When the days are short and temperatures are low, many of us have the inclination to get cozy and hibernate. We all need and deserve the rest and recovery time that winters can bring. Finding the motivation to establish a balance of activity and rest that works well for you in the winter can be tricky. Here are four ideas of how to integrate activity in the winter season to keep your momentum going for the spring and summer. Committing to your health and well-being is a year-round practice!
1 – Just Keep Paddling: Pool Sessions or Layers R Us
What is the best way to stay active in the winter? Keep doing what you do in the summer, just add more layers. With the right equipment, knowledge, and can-do attitude, you can paddle year round!
Want to keep paddling outdoors? Add more moisture wicking and insulating layers to your kit. Consider investing in earplugs and a drysuit or wetsuit and dry top to keep warm in adverse conditions. Bringing friends and scouting your river (for ice, trees, and new debris) before you run it (even if you know the run well) is the best way to navigate the river environment in the winter (and all other seasons).
Looking for a less chilly way to be in water and keep paddling? Check out your local pool session for rolling and flatwater playboat practice. Flatwater playboating gives you great transferrable river running skills like improving edge control and understanding how to effectively use your body weight in a boat. Check out this flatwater playboating skills video. Pools are also a great place to dial in your roll before you need it on the river.
2 – Head to the Great Outdoors: Walking, Hiking, Biking, oh my!
Outdoor winter sports are plentiful. You can keep your endurance and stamina up by walking, hiking, biking, snowshoeing, and so much more. You can have fun and stay fit with outdoor winter adventures. Not much of a winter sport enthusiast? Ditch the snowblower and shovel! Hello arm and back muscles. Outdoor chores are a tried-and-true way to stay in the game. Just make sure you are using proper lifting techniques—lift with the legs and not the back!
3 – Build a Solid Foundation: Stretching & Strengthening
It’s the first beautiful spring day, and you decided to meet us with some pals at the river. The stoke is high so you run dam to gap on your first day back in a boat in months. When you get halfway down the river, you’re noticing how tight your body feels. Achy. Crampy. Ouchie. You know you’re looking like a baby deer when you try to get up out of your boat. We’ve all been there.
Stretching and strengthening is vital to an active lifestyle. Winter can bring us the slower indoor time to catch up on all the strengthening and shoulder physical therapy we need to be doing to slide back into our boats successfully next spring. Treating our bodies and muscles to a consistent exercise routine that incorporates core strengthening is a great way to improve your paddling skills.
Check out this strengthening for paddlers video to find out what exercises you can integrate into your routine. Try yoga for whitewater paddlers to increase your endurance and protect your body from injury.
4 – Hit the Slopes: Cross Training with the Other Whitewater
Skiing and snowboarding are awesome sports to partake in, and they can also be excellent ways to cross train. First, your legs will thank you for all the skiing you’ve done the second you lift your boat off the car and carry it to the put it. Second, your brain will be happy to plug into those transferrable skills of edge control, carving, and target fixation. Visit Berkshire East across the river from Zoar Outdoor to spend some time on the slopes. (Bonus points if you stop into the Zoar Outdoor Outfitters shop to say hello on your way home. We miss you all in the winter!)
We hope you enjoyed this blog post on staying active in the off season! Let us know in the comments about what your favorite ways to stay in shape in the winter. For now, stay safe and happy winter season!