Getting outside to exercise during the winter can be brutal. My husband and I chose to “vacation” to beautiful and friendly Madison, WI after Christmas. We are both unpleasant when we don’t get outdoor time so I have put together the ultimate outfit to survive the frigid Midwest winter weather. I have included links to examples of these items. (Note #1: Some items seem expensive, but if they are made out of wool and other high performing materials, it’s like owning 3-4 cheap alternatives. Note #2: I should also mention that you will be so warm when wearing these items during your outdoor exercise that you will probably consider not being so hardcore/overdressed, but at least you are guaranteed not to be cold.)
1. Knee High Wool Socks
2. Thermal Hat
3. Bada$$ Mittens (I like them so much I bought a matching pair for my husband!)
4. Windbreaker with neck protection and a hood
5. Thermal Baselayer Top
6. Fleece Lined Leggings
We have a culture full of sitters - at work, in the car, on the couch, at a restaurant, etc. With excessive sitting comes aches and pains that can lead you straight into the doctor or chiropractors office. I have wonderful friends who work in both fields and have learned from them and my own experiences with injury over the last decade. We don't move or stretch enough, plain and simple. If you could be pain free by simply spending five minutes of your day devoted to pain relief, would you do it?
Try doing this once in the morning and once before you sleep:
1. Floor Bridge - laying on your back on the floor with your knees bent and feet on the ground, lift your hips and glutes off of the floor, squeeze your bum for 2 seconds and lower back to the floor. Repeat 20 times.
2. Standing Knee Hug - In a standing position, grab one knee with both hands over the kneecap, pull for one second and alternate to the other knee. Repeat 20 times.
3. Standing Quad Stretch - Standing, reach back with one hand to grab the top of your foot and reach into the air with the opposite arm, pull and alternate. Repeat 20 times.
4. Standing Leg Cradle - Standing, place one hand on the outside of one ankle and the other hand on the outside of the same knee and pull your shin up to your chest in a position where the shin is paralell to your chest. Pull for one second and alternate to the opposite leg. Repeat 20 times.
I do these exercises everyday before I workout, which mostly consists of running. Since taking up this dynamic warmup prior to running, training for my fifth marathon has felt much easier than the previous ones. You see, I spend about 3 hours everyday commuting between my clients' homes and that makes for tight hip flexors and a sore back when it comes time to do my own workout.
If you have chronic aches and pains, give this a try. Of course, it could be much more serious than a bunch of tight, weak muscles so use discretion when it comes to contacting a doctor about your condition.