I’m in a bit of a quandary. For years I’ve spent the summer road biking. It’s a great off season workout: terrific for cardio and stamina, great for balance, and amazing for your core and legs. But this year I’m a little reluctant to get back on the bike. If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you may recall I had a bad bike accident last summer, and to be honest, I’m a bit spooked. I know, I know, it was a fluke (my front tire blew). And really, you can get hurt doing just about anything. But there are things about road biking that make me nervous. The roads around here are windy and narrow and the shoulders nonexistent and full of pot holes. So I’m not sure how much biking I’ll be able (or willing) to manage.
So what’s a skier to do? If you want to be in shape when next season rolls around, it’s best to stay in shape during the summer, too. And for skiing, the best activities focus on three things: endurance, strength, and flexibility. Luckily, there are a lot of off-season activities that fill the bill.
• Mountain Biking: This is something I definitely plan to try — again. I had one mountain bike experience, and it didn’t go well; my husband ended up with 40 stitches. But that was a number of years ago, and I think it’s time to give it another shot. After all, I live in the Green Mountain State, and there are plenty of places to do this within half an hour of my house. People say mountain biking has a feel very much like skiing, which to me, is a definite plus. Also it’s a great way to work on balance, endurance, and strength.
• Yoga: I’m so there with yoga, since it’s already part of my morning routine. A few years ago I wrote about why yoga is so great for skiing. In a nutshell, yoga improves your flexibility, increases stability, and helps build strength — all things you need for skiing. Plus, if you combine it each day with a session of mediation — which I do — you’ll feel like a million bucks.
• Strength Training: Lindsey Vonn does this. ‘Nuff said.
• Inline skating: Inline skating uses a lot of the same muscles as downhill skiing. You work your glutes, quads, and hamstrings, all while having a great time. Just be sure to wear a helmet. And wrist guards and pads for your knees and elbows, too.
• Hiking or Trail Running: Take your pick. Either one is a great outdoor activity. The mixture of steep climbs, rolling hills, and careful descents while carrying a pack can give you a great total body workout. If you’re a bit more ambitious, then try trail running. Basically, it’s running without the downside of being on the road. Plus being on varied surfaces, going uphill and down, forces you to work on your balance more than conventional running does.
Should you limit yourself to just one activity? A better question is why would you do that? Mixing it up makes things fun and interesting. And it’s a great way to work on different muscle groups.
I haven’t yet decided on what I’ll do to replace road biking. Perhaps I’ll try them all!
See you out there!