The cold weather has finally arrived, and so has the opportunity to engage in all your favorite winter sports. Whether you love hockey, skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, or any other sport that involves snow or ice, then you know that there are some things you need to do in order to prepare yourself. One of them is to warm up before you start (and you can start preparing your muscles months in advance), and another is to stay warm while you are participating in those winter sports you enjoy so much.
How to Warm Up
Warming up before sports and exercise is important in any weather. Because the cold tends to reduce flexibility and increase the tightness of your muscles, warming up and stretching may be even more vital to preventing injuries during the colder months. One of the issues that seems especially tied to starting up with winter activities after a long summer is known as delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS.
DOMS is the official term for the soreness and stiffness that doesn’t show up until the day after you’ve been engaging in an activity you haven’t done for a while. You can minimize DOMS by engaging in twice a week strength training starting about one month before your winter sports regime begins. You can also help yourself by taking on intense cardiovascular workouts to help build up your endurance.
There are also specific exercises you can do to prepare for different types of winter sports:
- For snowboarding, try doing mountain climbers with a tap, and standing heel and toe raises
- For snowshoeing, hamstring curls will keep you prepared
- For downhill skiing, try some wall sits
- For ice skating, you’ll find exercises such as deadlifts and step-ups to be very helpful
- For cross-country skiing, do some walking lunges to stay ready
- For any type of skiing, you can’t go wrong with bicep curls, standing heel raises, and standing toe raises
Some other general exercises that are good for just about all types of winter sports include squats and lunges, which help to strengthen the quadriceps, and thigh-leg lifts to help keep your thighs strong. You also need to make sure to pay attention to your core – primarily, your back and abdominal muscles.
What You Should Wear for Winter Sports
How you dress for your winter sports is important, also. When you are active in the cold weather, you don’t need to worry as much about keeping your core warm as you do your arms, hands, legs, and head. It’s best to approach your winter attire in terms of layers: an inner layer, a mid-layer, an insulating layer, and then your outerwear.
You’ll need to start with a very breathable base layer that is also good at moisture-wicking. This layer will be against your skin, so it is important that you give this careful consideration. Good fabrics for a base layer include Spandex/Lycra, which are breathable and dry quickly, as well as bamboo Spandex and nylon, which both have the added bonus of being anti-odor. Other good base layer fabrics include Tencel or a compression fabric. Compression fabrics are believed to increase blood flow and thus to reduce your recovery time when it comes to muscle soreness. Compression fabrics will also help to wick sweat away from your body.
A mid-layer is also recommended, and a long-sleeved, button-up shirt or long-sleeved t-shirt can work well. For your insulating layer, you’ll want something warm made from a fabric like fleece or wool. Pullovers, hoodies, and vests are excellent options.
As for outwear, there are two things you will need: something that provides suitable insulation (which varies according to how cold it is) and pants that are waterproof. Polypropylene is a good waterproof fabric that is very compatible with an active lifestyle. Polyester is also pretty good at protecting you from water, but be warned that it does tend to retain odor. Finally, don’t forget your hands and your head! Find some good gloves and a comfortable knit hat or beanie, and grab some warm, moisture-wicking socks while you are at it!
It’s a good idea to plan ahead for your winter activities, and that means keeping your muscles ready for winter sports and having appropriate clothing. There are many different exercises that you can do in addition to cardio and strength training that will help you reduce the inevitable sore, stiff muscles that result when you start those winter sports. As to your clothing, remember to dress in layers and make sure to keep your extremities warm. And don’t shy away from clothing items made from the latest performance fabrics – they can offer everything from moisture-wicking to odor control.
You Can Count on Wayne Sporting Goods!
At Wayne Sporting Goods, we have a huge variety of winter clothing. We are your one-stop shop for creating the perfect outfit for your favorite sport. Whether you are looking for compression leggings, knit beanies, waterproof track pants, insulated vests, or a moisture wicking long-sleeve t-shirt, our friendly and knowledgeable staff can advise you on the ideal fabric and fit for your winter needs. From insulating clothing to active outerwear, Wayne Sporting Goods has what you need. Drop in today to explore our unparalleled selection of clothing, shoes, equipment, and accessories for all your cold weather sports and activities.