Winter is here, and with colder temperatures and maybe even some snow, it’s finally time to hunker down with a good book, a fire, and not move for the next few months, right? Wrong! Just because it might be a bit more chilly than we’re used to doesn’t mean that winter is a time for zero activity.
Whether you’re already a winter sport fanatic, or just starting to think about keeping active through the winter, we’ve got you covered. Today we’re going to look at how you can maintain all that fitness you achieved over the summer and carry it right over into winter sports and activities. Let’s review how to keep your body in its best shape, all year round.
Get Ski Ready
In New Zealand, it’s no secret that skiing and snowboarding are part of the allure of the country’s winter. With over 20 ski fields spotted around both the North and South Island, the sport calls to adults and kids alike. Nothing quite matches the view from the top of a NZ mountain, after a hard day of skiing and with a warm beverage in hand.
For anyone who has gone out skiing or snowboarding for the first time in a season, however, we know exactly how much it hurts. With or without a fall (or several falls), our bodies need some getting used to the way they move on the slopes. Sore muscles are almost inevitable, no matter how in shape you are, but there are ways to lessen the impact. Pre-season ski training is the best way to get your body in skiing shape before you actually head out on the slopes. It also is an excellent injury prevention method, as there is nothing worse than finally getting a day out on the slopes and then getting injured on one of your first runs. This type of training will also keep you in shape for other winter activities, and keep you active through the winter months.
Keep your nutrition on point
A huge part of your overall fitness is your nutrition. You can’t expect to stay in great shape through the winter if you are throwing your nutrition out the winter on heavy mince pies and creamy soups. While it can be tempting to indulge when it’s cold out, it’s vital that you keep up your routines this winter to make sure your fitness lasts the whole season.
If you’re hoping to maintain or gain muscle mass, look into options like vegan protein powders as a supplement to your healthy diet. If you tend to get less sunshine and fresh air in the winter, as many of us do, you might also want to up your vitamin intake and make sure you’re getting plenty of Vitamin D from either supplements or from a healthy diet.
If you still want to eat hearty, but maintain your health, have a look at some of these delicious soups to make that will be satisfying and healthy. Healthy carbs are great for those winter meals that you might be craving, so think good starch like kumara, squash and pumpkin. Besides this, you’ll also want to try and eat for immunity, so those sick days become less common and easier to manage. Here is a good list of immune boosting foods to add to your diet.
Join a winter sport group
This tip is one of our favourites for maintaining winter fitness. What better way to keep up fitness for winter sports than by joining a winter sport team? Besides keeping you active through the winter, it is also a good mental boost by interacting with others, incorporating some healthy competition into your life, and just injecting fun into the dark winter months. Besides that, you’ll also get to sport a spiffy volleyball team jersey all winter long!
The best thing about joining a winter sport group is that you can stay warm and sweaty by choosing an indoor sport like volleyball or netball, or if you prefer to be outside, you can choose an ice hockey or skating sport that will keep you outdoors all winter. There is definitely a sport for anyone regardless of whether you want to be indoors or out, you just need to find what works for you. If you’re really feeling adventurous, you might want to try your hand at one of these Olympic winter sports.
Keep your body injury free
This one is extremely important for this winter. Some winter sports can wreak havoc on our body, like a bad fall while skating, or a tumble down a ski field. It’s really important that you treat your body kindly all year round, especially during harsh winter months. Sprains, broken bones and fractures are quite common over the winter, so keep injury prevention at the top of your list.
Consider adding something like traditional Chinese medicine to your biweekly or monthly to do list. Practices like Acupuncture are becoming more and more common, as well as a recognised form of complementary pain relief. Practices like Tai Chi can help not only keep you calm and focussed, but also increase your strength, balance and agility at the same time.
In addition, we highly recommend always warming up fully before any winter sport. This can be a challenge in cold weather, but try and add in dynamic stretches to get your body limber before jumping into intense exercise. Staying hydrated is also just as important in winter as it is in summer, but can be harder to monitor in winter, which is why you need to stay on top of it more in wintertime. It can be easy to become dehydrated this season, as your body isn’t sweating as much to remind you to drink up.
We hope that you feel a bit more motivated to take your fitness, nutrition and injury prevention serious this winter sport season! Whatever you decide to do, keep active, eat well, and take care of yourself this season.