Winter is a hard season to stay active. Days are short, weather is cold and motivation is lacking. Not to mention the indulgence of holiday treats makes us feel sluggish. Luckily for us though, we live in such an active environment which eases the difficulty of the winter workout blues. So it’s too cold or dark to ride outside, don’t fret in this blog I’ll discuss a few fitness alternatives to keep moving this Winter season!
Alternative 1: Trainer
Bike trainers have been the tool of Winter training for cyclists for a long time. A trainer is a device that you attach to the rear wheel of you bike that transforms your personal bike to a stationary bike.
Trainers come in a few different styles, which are indicative of how friction is applied to your rear wheel. Below are the 4 main types of trainers and from LOWEST investment to HIGHEST investment.
- Wind Trainers
These trainers use the air resistance of a fan attached to the trainer to provide resistance for the rider. Wind trainers provide a progressive resistance so as you pedal harder the resistance increases.
PROS: Low investment, Progressive resistance
CONS: Very noisy, Hard pedaling can max out resistance
- Magnetic Trainers
These trainers use the resistance of magnets to provide resistance for the rider. Resistance on these trainers can only be adjusted by changing gears or adjusting the resistance setting on the trainer.
PROS: Low investment, Less noisy than wind
CONS: Not as natural of a pedaling experience
- Fluid Trainers
These trainers have a small fluid chamber that provides the resistance to the rider. These trainers provide a very realistic road feel.
PROS: Very realistic ride feel, Very quiet
CONS: High investment
** I will say that this is what I train on in the Winter.
- Direct Drive Trainers
These trainers are the latest and greatest in indoor training. They require the removal of the rear wheel to be directly mounted to the trainer. They provide almost identical ride feel to cycling outdoors, can be paired with electronic training applications and do not allow for any “wheel slip” to happen if doing sprint intervals.
PROS: Most realistic ride feel, Pair to training applications, High resistance output to allow for sprint training, No “wheel slip”
CONS: Very very high investment, Rider must remove rear wheel
Riding on a trainer, similar to running or walking on a treadmill, can be a mind numbing experience. Many people who do train on a trainer will watch movies, listen to music or even read a book if your workout so suits. For me it’s nice to have something on the TV to distract me visually, and a predetermined workout to keep me mentally engaged. Workouts don’t need to be anything too fancy. They can be as easy as:
10 minute WARM UP
30 minute WORKOUT
1 min HARD
1 min REST
5 minute COOL DOWN
Speaking of “cool down” it is going to be hot when you ride on a trainer. To stay cool, I suggest having a fan blowing on you. It makes a world of difference. Along with that be prepared with a sweat towel and plenty of water!
*Note that not all eBikes are compatible with trainers, consult us before making any purchases and we can help!
Alternative 2: Snow Activities
We are surrounded by world renowned ski mountains that provide a great opportunity to enjoy the cold weather, but you don’t have to have the need for speed to enjoy those same mountains. While downhill skiing can be fun, it isn’t for everyone. Maybe this Winter you try a few other snow activities!
Go snow shoeing – Snow shoeing can be a great way to get in nature, enjoy the snowy landscapes and GET EXERCISE! Snow shoeing is an inexpensive, easy, fun and can extend your hiking season through the cold months.
Below are some more tips from the experts at REI on how to get prepared to get out on the snow.
Go cross country skiing – Looking for something a bit more aerobic? Try cross country skiing!
Cross country skiing is used by cyclists across the world as a way to stay in shape for cycling. Cross country skiing will keep your heart pumping, your metabolism working and those winter pounds off.
Below are some more tips from REI on where to start.
With so many places around the Denver area to ski, you can keep your skiing fresh and give an excuse to see more of our beautiful state! Below is an article from the Denver Post which dives a bit deeper into where exactly to ski.
If you are feeling up, go soak up some of the best skiing in North America here in CO!
Alternative 3: Try Something New!
Getting out of normal exercise routines in the Winter is normal. Use this change of routine to try a new activity! Again, with so many options around us there is no excuse to keep moving!
Curling – Yes, you read that correctly I did say CURLING. Remember that sport you think about once every four years when the Winter Olympics happens. With a curling club at our doorstep in Golden, grab some friends and give it a try!
Rowing – Rowing is a great full body and low impact exercise. You can find rowing machines at most gyms and can find workout plans online. Since it is a whole body exercise, be sure that you are using proper technique to avoid injury. Below is a video discussing proper rowing technique.
Exercise classes – Taking exercise classes at your local gym or recreation center can be a great way to stay active during the Winter! The social interaction and accountability can give motivation to show up and work hard. Classes vary from location to location and most will have course listings on their websites.
If you are searching for a gym to call home there are several in our area to choose from:
Buck Recreation Center – http://www.ssprd.org/Buck-Recreation-Center
Lilley Gulch Recreation Center – https://www.ifoothills.org/facilities/#lilley-gulch
Peak Community & Wellness Center – https://www.ifoothills.org/facilities/#peak-community
Ridge Recreation Center – https://www.ifoothills.org/facilities/#ridge-cntr
Littleton Family YMCA – https://www.denverymca.org/littleton
Englewood Recreation Center – https://www.englewoodco.gov/parks-recreation-library/recreation-center
As you can see, there are a lot of options as to how to stay active this Winter. It’s not how you stay moving, but that you do stay active! Whether that’s taking the stairs not the elevator, or parking a few spots further from the store or adding a couple blocks to the nightly dog walk.
Just stay moving!