WELL STAYING FIT BY JENNA ANDERSONs is the nature of summer with long, sunny days, the time seems to slide right past and before you know it the valley is subtly starting to change color, and the warm mornings and evenings begin to give way to pre-dawn briskness and nippy evenings as fall settles in. However, for the fitness inclined (new or seasoned) who have taken their health practice outside during the warm months, a few extra precautions will keep you enjoying the outdoors even longer.
With the sunrise coming later, early morning exercisers often find themselves out and about in the wee hours before sunlight. Not only is it cooler in the mornings and evenings as fall settles in and moves toward winter, but with the increased darkness those early mornings can be dangerous. Keep yourself safe with reflective clothing to allow motor vehicles to see you.
Furthermore, dress for the weather. You should be just uncomfortably warm in the house and just beginning to be uncomfortably cool when standing outside. This will keep you warm when your body temperature climbs with increased exertion.
KNOW YOUR TERRAIN AND ROUTE
We’re gifted with a variety of terrain and options in the Flathead Valley, and as you continue to work outside keep in mind the terrain and route you intend to take, and let someone know. If the weather the night before has left ice or snow, be prepared in case you come across a change in your route. If the street or trail you prefer is prone to ice or drifts, which could hide ice, know the dangers or possible dangers of being out in the morning/evening. Furthermore, exposed skin in cold temperatures can frostbite in as little as 30 minutes. An injury, even something as simple as twisting an ankle, can be cause for concern if the weather changes or you have a big hill to climb on your route home.
Ice on trails or roads can make them slippery to even the most experienced runner or exerciser. Frozen ground is going to be harder on joints for jumping if you’re doing an outdoor workout. Scout out routes that are well lit or wear a headlamp to help you keep an eye out for black ice, and keep in mind running in open areas or near water will always be colder.
The summer makes it easy to throw on the running shoes, do a few stretches, and then hit the trail, path, or park for our workout. Cold weather makes this just a little bit harder. Give yourself time to acclimate to the weather outside if you’re not an avid outdoor workout enthusiast. Also, set yourself up for success with the dynamic warmup listed below. This will help heat your body temperature and get it ready for movement and exertion, while preventing cold muscles from straining or injuring.
Do each exercise for 30 seconds to 1 minute before moving to the next. Repeat the whole warmup two to three times increasing your intensity slightly each time. Warm up inside, and when you finish you should be just begin to feel uncomfortably warm, but comfortable when stepping outside.
Fence Sweep: Stand on one leg, lift the knee perpendicular to the hip and, keeping the hips straight, open the hip to the right (or left depending on the leg) to the full range of motion before lowering to the floor again. Keep the foot flexed, the knee aligned with the hip, and try not to let the hips twist and pivot instead of staying straight to the front. Do one side, then the other.
Single Leg Glute Stretch: Come to a counter or railing and cross the right ankle over the left knee. Keep the back long and the chest high as you sit down and back into a squat position with the left hip. Work to keep the hips square and the right shin from twisting down or the knee from popping in and up. Keep the knee over the ankle and work to sit a little deeper each time. Keep the upper body upright and the shoulders working back in order to prevent the core from collapsing over the front leg.
Arms Out High Knees: Stand with your arms straight out to the side and lift one knee up, working toward the waist or higher, then repeat on the other side. You can march this or, with some practice, run it. Keep the core engaged, stay on the toes, and work to keep your hands up the entire time.
Double Throws: Bring your arms up to shoulder height straight out from the body. Bend your elbows so your hands are straight up and squeeze the shoulder blades down and away from the ears. Holding the shoulder blades back, rotate the hands forward toward the front (don’t let them draw below the shoulder), then rotate them back up so the hands aim straight up into the air.
Jenna is a trainer and competitive physique athlete with a passion for yoga. She can usually be found at Flathead Health and Fitness in Kalispell helping others reach their health goals either in class or through one-on-one sessions. She also offers personal training. Contact her at www.innerpowertraining.com.