Erica Roselius – March 2023
It’s FINALLY warm and the snow has melted. It’s my first mountain bike ride or trail run after a long winter. I set off with excitement brewing, feeling giddy with the prospect of another gorgeous warm season in the Eastern Sierra. But then, as I’m struggling to catch my breath going up the first hill, I think,” Oh my! I feel so out of shape!”
Have you ever felt this way? If not, then you are lucky. I disdain this feeling! But if you’ve ever felt this way then read on for 4 things you should do now to prep for summer fitness.
1. Work on your strength: Now is the perfect time to spend hitting the gym to improve your strength. Hiking, running and mountain biking all require significant strength through the legs, core and upper body (particularly if you carry a pack), so use the cold weather months to strength train 2-3x/week. Strong muscles will help prevent injury and create power that can help you complete long treks on the trails. Hire a coach or look for strength training plans specific to your sport or hobby.
2. Improve your mobility: Mobility is how well your joints and muscles move through their full ranges of motion. As we age, particularly in a world where we spend most time sitting at desks or in front of screens, our mobility decreases. Mobility is important to maintain health and longevity and it reduces risk of injury. Take a weekly yoga or flexibility/mobility class. Or spend time each day working on your mobility at home on your own.
3. Build your cardio base: The off season is also when you should build your cardio, or aerobic, base. Your aerobic base is like the foundation for doing hard work. If you build a strong cardio base, your body is able to more efficiently handle harder efforts when required (like hiking up a steep, short uphill). To build a cardio base, you spend long periods of time at a lower heart rate. Nothing breathless, just slow easy training. You should be able to carry a conversation and you should theoretically be able to work in your aerobic base indefinitely. The good news is that you can build your base doing a variety of activities! If you enjoy being outside in the winter this could include snow shoeing, walking, or hiking. If you prefer training indoors you can try indoor swimming, cycling, rowing, or walking on the treadmill.
4. Try something new! While working on your cardio base, you might want to try something new! Explore a new class, a new fitness studio or a new hobby altogether. Have you always wondered what the local aqua aerobics class is like? Or are you intrigued by country line dancing? Trying new things keeps the mind engaged and helps maintain motivation. And who knows, you might even find a new activity you love!
In reality, you might still feel sluggish or out-of-shape the first few weeks out on the trails. You’re moving your body in ways it hasn’t moved in several months. But if you try these four tips between now and Spring/Summer, you’ll be back to hiking form faster than ever.
If you need help with a plan, or you’re looking for small group training or personal training, please reach out. I specialize in helping women over 40+ achieve their best in the great outdoors.
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