It’s that time of the year, the “Dog Days of Winter”. Not quite as well known as the "Dog Days of Summer” perhaps but none the less, they exist and we’re in ‘em. I define winter’s dog days as the “ary” months, January and February. November and December bring the onset of the cold but are camouflaged in anticipation of the holidays. All that “good will towards men” distracts us from what’s to come but once that calendar hits 1/1, life changes with a cold dose of reality. The beginning of January brings some novelty as it finds us with that false bliss of empowerment from all our resolutions. All forms of previous year's dissatisfactions are wiped away with the promise of life to be lived better.
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>> Lose 30 pounds…check
>> Stop keeping the breweries in business…check
>> Qualify for Kona…check
>> Come up with a Middle East peace plan…check
>> Well, come the latter part of January, reality sets in and the only resolution still in place is the old standby, “next year I’m gonna do better. I’ll use this year to get it all out of my system”.
>> So now what, how do we keep our sanity for these next couple of months.? After all, spending the next two months doing nothing but wishing them to be over is tantamount to wasting 1/6 of our lives! Well, here’s what I think.
>> Aside from those of us that are skiers, most people find the biggest challenge of cold weather is to maintain their fitness programs. It’s REALLY easy to postpone a run or walk when faced with wind chills in the single digits coupled with icy sidewalks and roads. Postponing things until tomorrow is one thing but postponing them till May has its drawbacks. With all the new clothing technology out there, it is a lot easier staying comfortable while running or walking but let’s call a spade a spade, it’s still cold out there. Biking loses its appeal when you have to put enough clothes on to look like the Pillsbury Dough Boy. I used to surf and paddle board in the winter but as I’ve gotten older (and wiser), just the thought of that cold water diminishes my enthusiasm.
>> The first thing I suggest is to accept the fact that with very few exceptions, most people’s activity levels in their chosen sports slows down. In some ways, I theorize this to be a good thing. It gives our bodies a chance to recover from any nagging injuries. After all, rest and recovery are known to be just as important as training and proper nourishment. For many serious athletes, ‘rest’ is the hardest of these 3 components. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting we do nothing for 2 months, not at all. I’m simply saying that once you accept the fact that your training plans will be altered, it makes it easier to accept the next step.
>> These couple of months are the perfect time to add activities that are not only done indoors in the comfort of that thing called “room temperature” but in addition are great compliments to our chosen sports. There is not a runner or biker out there that won’t admit that they wouldn’t benefit from more stretching. As we get older, stretching ceases to be something we ‘should’ do and evolves into something we ‘must’ do. Runners and Bikers have significant imbalances in their lower bodies based on the primary muscles used for their sports. Our Quads provide the majority of power in running and biking while our glutes and hamstrings more or less go along for the ride. Over time, this imbalance will result in weak, tight hamstrings and glutes and that causes many of the chronic discomforts that comes with age. Right at the top of the list is the dreaded calf strain that so many older runners experience. Yoga provides a way to help offset these afflictions while adding strength and balance. There have never been more places to learn and practice Yoga than now. Pretty much every gym and health club has classes available to all levels. In addition, Yoga studios are popping up everywhere. I strongly suggest anyone interested in trying Yoga to do so initially in a class with a certified instructor. Sure, you can find an infinite amount of videos and you tube demonstrations but having an instructor means you’ll learn the basics while insuring proper form. Injuries can and do happen from poor form but an instructor will make sure you avoid many of the mistakes that cause problems. The beauty of Yoga is that with the proper instruction, you’ll learn poses that can be done pre and post workout that will help in avoiding injuries.
>> Those who have read my ramblings know of the importance I put on strength training. I will not bore you any further with one of my typical diatribes on strength training other than to say EVERYONE needs it, everyone. Find a gym and have someone walk you through the basics of lifting weights. Its warm in those gyms and your body will love you for it. In addition, it’s kind of cool when you put a bathing suit on for the first time and someone says “wow, you look great, what have you been doing”.
>> If you’re lucky enough to have access to a pool, swimming is an ideal cross-training activity. The benefits of swimming and water exercises are well known. You may not be too amped up swim laps in an indoor pool when the weather is nice but when it’s freezing outside, that warm water is inviting. Knocking out laps in the winter will allow you the fitness needed to swim jetties in the summer, a great mid-day workout when you’re at the beach.
>> I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the many indoor fitness classes being offered like “Boot Camp”, “Boxing”, “Cross Fit” and any number of other group activities. These class are based on multi-functional exercises as opposed to one dimensional movements. These classes are hard, make no mistake about it but they do give dramatic results. One word of caution: leave your ego in the locker room when you start one of these programs. No matter how fit you think you are, you’ll be doing movements you’re likely not used to and trying to push beyond your current capabilities will cause injuries, sometimes bad ones. When people of differing abilities are in the same class, it’s easy to get competitive. You want to push yourself to the max but understand, that can come with risks. Be patient, whatever the next guy is doing that you can’t, you’ll get there and beyond in time.
>> These next couple of months are tough on those of us who prefer outdoor activities but the days are getting longer and there’s light at the end of tunnel. In the meantime, adding something new to your fitness regime is a great way to keep active while getting you ready for the warm weather ahead.
We hope everyone has a great holiday! Our holiday hours are: Tues 12/22 10-7 Wed 12/23 10-7
Thurs 12/24 10-3 Christmas Fri 12/25 closed
Thurs 12/31 10-3 New Years Day Fri 1/1 closed Thank you all for another great year!
Columbus Day Weekend long sale starts tomorrow! All full priced apparel and shoes will be 15% off! Sale lasts from Saturday 10/10 to Monday 10/12. Have a great 3 day weekend!