During the colder months, exercising outdoors can be tough. When it’s cold, wet, or snowing heavily, your natural instinct tends to involve curling up in front of the fire. Finding the motivation to go for that three-mile run or take a swim can be difficult.
Still, this isn’t true of everyone – many people love to get out there and enjoy the brisk, biting chill. One of the most popular winter sports?
Without doubt, snowboarding is one of the coolest, most dynamic of all winter sports, a mix of skateboarding and skiing that demands considerable skill. Of course, the stunning snow-capped locations hold immense appeal, helping to attract newcomers year on year.
Always been curious to try snowboarding but unsure exactly how it benefits you?
Let’s take a look at just a few reasons you should give it a try.
Build a Tougher Body
Snowboarding looks far, far easier than it actually is. Staying on your board while traveling downhill at speed requires incredible balance, which works your entire body.
Steering your board strengthens your calves, quads, and hamstrings, while your arms and shoulders work hard to keep you steady.
Get a Cardiovascular Workout
Believe it or not, snowboarding can provide one heck of a cardio workout.
For the average person, you’ll burn anywhere from 250 to more than 600 calories per hour of snowboarding. This depends on the terrain, of course, but as very few people spend less than a few hours on their board, you’re sure to feel the burn.
Walking back uphill provides extra exercise, as does picking yourself up out of the snow (we all fall now and then).
If you’ve watched snowboarders in action, you’ll know just how often they need to twist and turn, changing direction and speed with fast movements. You need to move with the terrain and develop strong control over your body.
Over time, you’ll find you become more flexible and develop better balance.
Lighten Your Mood
Like any exercise, snowboarding makes you feel better in body and mind.
Why? It releases endorphins, those all-important neurochemicals that regulate happiness. As you work your way down the slopes, working your body, you should feel good, content, and motivated.
This goes hand-in-hand with the overall fun you can have in a snowboarding environment. If you’re lucky enough to travel to one of America’s best snowboarding destinations (such as Mount Bachelor, Mammoth Mountain, or Jackson Hole) you’ll get to enjoy amazing views.
You can also make snowboarding trips into luxurious holidays, bonding with friends and meeting new people in a unique setting. Think that will help to keep lifting your mood higher and higher?
Before you start snowboarding for the first time, it’s vital you spend time researching the best boards, the right gear, and the usual practice-methods to get you ready for your first trip.
If you plan on taking food, drink, first-aid kits, and other essentials on the slopes with you, don’t forget to take a waterproof backpack with you. Otherwise, your supplies may well get wet if you happen to fall again and again.
Preparation is key for long hikes.
While you might like the romantic notion of just grabbing your backpack, boots, and heading out into the great unknown, the reality is very different. Without the right supplies in your kit, you can run into difficulty all too easily.
You should eat a snack every hour, to replace those electrolytes you lose through perspiration. Hiking burns a high number of calories, and if you underestimate how weak you’ll become without snacks, you face trouble. The average 160-lb hiker will burn anywhere from 430 to 440 calories for each hour, while someone closer to 200-lb will use up around 550 calories in the same period.
Surprised? This is all the more reason to be prepared.
To help you stay energized, focused, and satisfied on your hikes, we’ve put together five essential snacks. Enjoy!
#1: Dried Fruit
Dried fruits are delicious, quick to eat, and packed with fiber. By dehydrating fruits, excess water is removed, making them lighter in your backpack.
On top of this, fresh fruit is prone to bruising and spoiling in your backpack, leading to off-putting smells and remains. With dried fruit, you can package it neatly in clear bags without having to worry about damage, odors, or excess weight.
Go for apricots, banana slices, raisins, prunes, cranberries, and anything else that tempts your taste buds.
Want to keep your food dry on wet days? Take a waterproof backpack made with lightweight materials, which not only keeps your goods safe but also prevents any leaking drinks from seeping through to your clothes.
#2: Carb-rich Treats
As well as dried fruits, take a selection of crunchy, salty snacks with you. Pretzels are a favorite of so many of us, and their complex carbohydrates are just what you need to replenish that spent energy.
Crackers are another great option, particularly stronger ones unlikely to leave broken remains in your wake. Just like dried fruit, these can be stored with a minimum of fuss and weigh next to nothing.
#3: Wholegrain Pasta or Quinoa
Snacks are vital, but you’ll want a proper meal during longer hikes. Sticking with carbs, wholegrain pastas are a top option: their glucose provides slow-release energy over time. These will keep you going for longer than snacks alone.
Add vegetables for crucial vitamins, minerals, and extra flavor. Quinoa is another slow-releasing food, and like pasta, can be stored in airtight boxes for long-lasting freshness. These may take up a little more space than snacks, but they’re relatively lightweight.
#4: Soups for Warmth
During winter, hiking is a totally different experience. Rather than worrying about just overheating and sunburn, you have to balance your layers properly so you stay warm without getting too hot.
One way to help stay warm is by eating soup at regular intervals. Fill a flask with hearty soup, packed with vegetables (for that all-important energy) and perhaps a little spice for added heat.
Flasks filled with fluid bring more weight to your backpack, but you’ll be glad of a hot food on the coldest hikes.
Think cereal’s just for breakfast?
Granola, muesli, bran flakes, and other healthy cereals are packed with vitamins and minerals, and can really boost your energy. Luckily, cereal weighs almost nothing at all, so buy small boxes or prepare snack-sized portions that can sit neatly in your backpack’s side-pockets.
We hope this inspires you to explore a wide variety of snacks and meals while out exploring the world! You can even use these as rewards for accomplishing certain milestones during your hikes, creating incentives for your efforts.
When shopping for gear to keep you dry, you’ll see both waterproof and water-resistant products on offer.
How do you know which is best for your activities? There’s usually a price difference between both, with the designs most likely to keep you dry costing a little more. Shopping for coats, hats, pants, boots, and accessories providing maximum dryness in even the wettest weather can be tough if you’re on a budget.
However, investing in the best available leads to the best results. Your comfort, safety, and health are always worth paying for.
Let’s look at the differences between waterproof and water-resistant materials to help make that daunting shopping trip a little easier …
What is Waterproof?
Some products out there claiming to be waterproof may not actually be.
While the idea of ‘waterproof’ coats and accessories is fairly simple, the materials and the manufacturing processes involved is anything but.
To be officially classified as waterproof, any product should be able to keep the user (or any items contained within, such as in a waterproof bag) totally dry in even the heaviest downpour. Seams are typically fully-taped and outer fabrics are coated with a waterproof agent.
In specialist products, there may also be a membrane lining, which encourages better breathability. Any jacket or item of clothing featuring one of these will be much more comfortable to wear, leaving you without a build up of moisture over time.
The tiny holes put into the membrane, which allow for this breathable function, are also minute enough to prevent water getting in.
At Adamant Gear, for example, our Adamant X-Core Waterproof Dry Bag Backpack is made with 500D PVC Tarpaulin, providing completely waterproof performance in even the heaviest rain, snow, and sleet. As the seams are heat-sealed, this can keep the contents dry even after hours of constant exposure to moisture.
For anyone spending long periods in wet conditions (or where wet weather is likely), completely waterproof products will keep yourself and your goods dry. When hiking in the rain, for example, you will need to keep your map, phone, GPS device, drinks, snacks, and spare clothing safe from rain. Likewise, wearing waterproof jackets will keep you warm, dry, and comfortable no matter how much time you spend at the elements’ mercy.
Investing in coats with a breathable membrane and wind-resistance is a smart move, reducing the risk of overheating and chilly conditions.
What is Water-Resistant?
For anyone engaging in everyday activities during wet weather, water-resistant clothing and accessories may be a suitable, cost-effective investment.
Water-resistance applies to any product which has been coated with a waterproofing agent without having its seams fully-taped. As a result, water will still be able to penetrate the jacket or accessory in heavy exposure.
In the case of water-resistant jackets, these are generally best worn when going from one place to another in a hurry. They are totally unsuitable for long hikes, runs, or bike-rides in extremely wet weather.
For the dedicated outdoors-enthusiast, water-resistant gear should be your priority. No matter how you like to stay fit and enjoy your surroundings, you have to be prepared for all weathers and situations.
Running on a treadmill is private, convenient, and even allows you to exercise in a comfortable temperature.
But there’s no denying it: when you run on a treadmill, you deny yourself certain pleasures.
For a start, you’re out in the fresh air, away from the sweat-tinged confines of your gym. You have beautiful surroundings to enjoy, and a clearer goal to work towards: rather than thinking ‘I want to hit five miles today’, you can say ‘ I want to reach the top of that gorgeous hill’ instead.
You can run outdoors at any time, in any weather (safety permitting, of course). Perhaps you prefer to get a half-hour in at dawn, or two hours after work. Perhaps you prefer throwing on a hooded top and working your legs in winter’s chill rather than summer’s sweltering heat.
Running outdoors is fun, free, and invigorating. However, if you’re just starting out, it’s important to prepare. Not only can a little research help you avoid injury, it can also help you get more out of your time on the trail.
Let’s take a look at a few expert tips for beginners.
Pick a Popular Running Trail
Feeling self-conscious about exercising in public? You won’t be the first or the last.
However, don’t let your anxiety lead you down unfamiliar paths. Choose a popular running trail or spot in your area. If you have no idea where this may be, ask around: speak with colleagues, friends, and family to pick their brains.
Not only is this safer to avoid your getting lost, it also means there will be other runners around to ask for help or advice should you need it.
Don’t Push Too Hard
As with any form of exercise, you have to ease yourself into running.
You might be tempted to run as hard as you can, for as long as you can. However, if you do so, you may well end up injuring yourself.
Start off slowly, and run only for short periods. Don’t set unrealistic goals. Be prepared to stop before you feel ready.
Warm Up First
Not planning to warm up before you start running?
Well, you may risk injury and strain. Even something as simple as a quick five-minute walk around the block can help get your body ready for a more intensive workout, along with a few minutes of stretching.
Be sure to cool down after your run too. Again, allow yourself a brief walk and stretch your legs to minimize discomfort.
Take Supplies (Just in Case)
Even if you only plan on a quick run, you have to stay hydrated,
Take one larger bottle of water, or two smaller ones, in a backpack. You should drink little and often to avoid dehydration, especially if running in hot weather.
Don’t forget to pack a protein bar or two if you plan on running for long distances, to replenish lost energy. You might also want to take a map if in unfamiliar territory, or a book if you plan to stop at the halfway point for a break.
Taking a waterproof backpack is ideal in rainy conditions, to keep your supplies safe and dry.
Running can be fantastic fun, improve your health and well-being, and give you a new lease of life. Take care when you start out – and accept that you won’t be able to run a marathon on your first day!
Now that winter’s on our doorstep, finding the motivation to keep cycling might not be quite so easy.
Depending on your location, your physical condition, and your bike itself, you may well feel daunted at the prospect of hitting that frosty road. Those of us living on hilly terrain (for example) might struggle with multiple inclines in the colder weather, while those in areas prone to floods might find their usual routes blocked off.
Still, provided you have the right gear, you can keep cycling through winter – and have a blast. To help you get the most out of your time on the saddle, we’ve put together four great tips to stay safe on your winter rides.
1: Layer Up
The right cycling clothes are important at any time of the year, but absolutely crucial in winter. You need to invest in wicking thermals to keep you moisture-free but warm at the same time, as well as waterproof top-layers. Even on crisp, bright days, you never know when an icy shower might come along.
Don’t be tempted to put on a big, paddeds jacket on the coldest days – you’ll quickly overheat through exertion. Not only can this ruin your ride just be making you uncomfortable, it can be dangerous. Instead, layer up: with a waterproof shell, a top, and a thermal underneath, you can remove garments to regulate your temperature.
2: Keep your Essentials in a Waterproof Bag
On even shorter rides, you might take a bag of gear with you. Maps, books (for a spot of leisurely reading in your favorite hideaway), snacks, and spare clothes are all handy to have on the road.
However, if a pesky shower (or, worse still, a torrential downpour) comes along, you want your bits and pieces to stay as dry as possible. A solid waterproof bag will do the trick, and these are available in a range of stylish colors.
3: Stay Hydrated, Stay Fed
Just because it’s cold enough to freeze lakes doesn’t mean you won’t work up a thirst. You’re still pushing yourself as hard as you would be in warmer weather, and while you might not start sweating quite as quickly, perspiration will still come.
Keep a couple of flasks with you, perhaps filling one with cold water and one with hot chocolate. Water will keep you hydrated, while the latter will raise your temperature a little (and taste delicious).
Keep a couple of protein bars with you, to give you an energy-boost if you start to flag, and take a snack along for a more substantial lift. A high-fiber sandwich or pasta will do the trick, releasing energy over time.
4: Light the Way
Lights are essential in winter, even if you’re riding during the middle of the day: overcast skies can make you harder to spot on the road, particularly in shaded areas.
Invest in small, rechargeable LED lights that affix to your bike: these are simple to mount and will ensure drivers see you in gloomy spots. They also provide reassurance should you stay out later than planned.
Cycling is a fantastic way to keep fit and enjoy the great outdoors all year round, so follow the above tips and you’ll have a great time!