Winter Fitness Option

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jww
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Winter Fitness Option

Post by jww »

I am going stir crazy in the house as I always do when winter sets in as my bike is away for the winter, and I struggle with any indoor exercising. Indoor exercising is too claustrophobic for my liking. It feels too stuffy to me.

Since I blew my knee out a few years back, I have done less and less downhill skiing. I considered cross country the past couple of years but now am just about ready to pull the trigger on a pair of snowshoes as they seem to give me the easiest options with the most variety. I can do it just a km or so from our home. I am leaning towards the Atlas 9 series (30" length).

Anyone else snowshoe here? Chris, have you done some snowshoeing in that winter wonderland of yours?

Right now is a great time to buy with our Boxing Day sales still in full swing. I can get a pair of the Atlas 930s and cork handled trekking poles for less than the regular price of the shoes themselves. I can use my winter running gear and my heavier leather and waterproof hiking boots so no need for any additional gear.

I think it will be an excellent winter alternative to my 3-season cycling.

Thoughts/comments?
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Re: Winter Fitness Option

Post by maskaggs »

Sad to say I'm so far out of shape you may as well be speaking another language - my own fault, to be sure.
Regards,
Mike
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Re: Winter Fitness Option

Post by jww »

maskaggs wrote:Sad to say I'm so far out of shape you may as well be speaking another language - my own fault, to be sure.
Mike -- one of the best things we can do with ourselves is to get up and move about. You don't have to be a fitness freak to feel the benefit. I used to run year round, and loved it, but haven't been able to do so for some time due to my knee reconstruction after my skiing accident, but walking is totally doable (as is riding my bike). No need to feel you can't do something --- no time like the present to start ..... and I don't mean New Years resolution time -- although that isn't a bad reason.

I am going to pick up my snowshoes later this morning or early this afternoon as I want to get in a little jaunt with them today.
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Re: Winter Fitness Option

Post by Rufus »

I snowshoe, but not as much today as when I lived in Montreal and Ottawa in the 60's and 70's; the balmy weather of the GTA is not that conducive for snowshoeing. The snowshoes I have used for the last 40 years are the Faber Ojibwa traditional snowshoe made of wood and full-hide lacing. I don't use poles, which seem to be a latter day add on for whatever reason; seem quite unnecessary to me. I have leather harnesses with rawhide ties and until recently I wore mid-calf mukluks, but had to abandon them when they rotted. My favourite spot for snowshoeing was the Gatineaus. In the 70's you could snowshoes there for hours without seeing another person and the wildlife was plentiful; I expect today the park is overrun with "amateurs". Wendell, you shouldn't abandon the idea of cross country skiing. I started Nordic skiing around 1970 and still find it enjoyable today. I prefer snowshoeing, however, as you can get away from "it" more easily and carry equipment and food for the day with little difficulty; moreover, it requires little equipment preparation.

When not snowshoeing or X-country skiing I fence foil. Also, I have a personal trainer at the YMCA whom I work out with twice a week. I find working out with a trainer gives me the discipline to do it EVERY week, no excuses. Also, it conditions me for my other activities. It's money well spent
Last edited by Rufus on Tue Dec 31, 2013 9:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Winter Fitness Option

Post by function »

What Wendell said. Lose a bit of weight and start some exercise and things just come into place. The mental aspect is actually tougher than the physical, but the sense of accomplishment is fantastic. I went from 30lb overweight and pretty useless to 10lb overweight by choice and able to run half marathons in six months.
Set a goal, stick to it. Sometimes you need to tell yourself to suck it up, often I did not want to run, but I had paid the entry fee for the races and I was going to run them without injury, so that meant I just had to run on a few rainy evenings or hung over Saturdays.
Added benefit was I tackled a health issue (fatty liver, not a terrible issue, but left unchecked for a decade and it could become a time bomb) that actually allows me to drink MORE now than I safely could before, and I happen to enjoy my beer and my bourbon.
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Re: Winter Fitness Option

Post by dosco »

This must be a cold north thing ... I grew up in upstate NY (north of Albany) and I got the same way during the winter. Then I lived in Phoenix for several years and quickly learned that working out indoors (particularly running and bicycling) wasn't that bad. I do feel for you, though ... I think I get a mild case of seasonal affective disorder because the days get so short.

I would propose finding an indoor sports league of some sort ... but if your knee is shot then I suppose any organized indoor sports (most of which involve running) would be out of the question.

My older daughter plays indoor field hockey in the winter, and this past weekend she participated in a tournament in Pennsylvania. The facility was new, and was fantastic. It is a repurposed warehouse and has over 1 million square feet under 1 roof. The area where she was playing had 4 indoor FH courts, and 2 artificial turf pitches (multiuse ... for soccer and FH). During her tournament there were several "older people league" field hockey games occurring on the turf pitches ... the first appeared to be a master's league (except the guys must have just started playing FH because it was UGLY) and the other games (about 4) were probably "open league" (21 - 35 year olds). The open players were clearly seasoned FH athletes because it was evident they had stick skills and field sense.

Anyways, I would also suggest winter mountain biking (I always enjoyed it whilst living in Plattsburgh) ... you'll need some winter gear (windproof tights, shoes, and head/face protection) but it doesn't sound like that's on your list.

Do let us know when you figure something out.
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Re: Winter Fitness Option

Post by jww »

Picked up the Altas 930s this afternoon and a pair of inexpensive trekking poles which I will use if I go off-trail.

Was gonna try to get out when I got back, but couldn't. With the Ottawa River so close by to me, I will have plenty of river-side vistas to explore in winter-time.
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Re: Winter Fitness Option

Post by Thalay Sagar »

I think you will like quite a bit, Wendell. Atlas makes a very nice shoe and the 930's are a good all-around choice, with an easy to use binding and a reasonably aggressive crampon. Enjoy! I have restarted running and am wearing Hoka's, the ultimate in dork shoes, but just love them.
Best,
Chris

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Re: Winter Fitness Option

Post by maskaggs »

jww wrote:
maskaggs wrote:Sad to say I'm so far out of shape you may as well be speaking another language - my own fault, to be sure.
Mike -- one of the best things we can do with ourselves is to get up and move about. You don't have to be a fitness freak to feel the benefit. I used to run year round, and loved it, but haven't been able to do so for some time due to my knee reconstruction after my skiing accident, but walking is totally doable (as is riding my bike). No need to feel you can't do something --- no time like the present to start ..... and I don't mean New Years resolution time -- although that isn't a bad reason.

I am going to pick up my snowshoes later this morning or early this afternoon as I want to get in a little jaunt with them today.
Of course you're right, though I'd be lying if I said embarrassment didn't play a role - who wants to get passed by the senior citizen runner while you trudge along, panting from a brisk walk? That's especially bad at the university gym, where folks of all ages literally run laps around me. But you know what they say about excuses. I've waited far too long to take my general fitness seriously.
Regards,
Mike
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Re: Winter Fitness Option

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Mike, I think you put it quite rightly that at some point it is about getting over your embarrassment of not being in as good a shape as you would wish to be when others around you seem to be all over the fitness bug. Years ago, when I started commuting to work by bike, I hooked up with a co-worker who was a tour leader volunteer for the Ottawa Bike Club. He used to ride home with me and taught me a ton of things which have stuck with me over the years. The one thing that has remained with me is to accept where you are personally and track your progress. It makes no difference who is passing you, or whom you are passing. When I stopped worrying about everyone around me and made it about me and my bike, I suddenly gained a level of enjoyment in my chosen fitness activities. That has been my mantra for many years, and it has helped me not only keep perspective, but also to stay with things.

Best of luck with your goals and fitness levels. Make it about you and to heck with everyone else.

Oh, and one word of advice. Get some proper equipment whether it be shoes, clothing, etc. Over the years I have accumulated some very good general and specific use fitness clothing, and it has made quite a difference .... really a bit like wet shaving. Pearl Izumi is my MWF of bike wear :wink:
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Re: Winter Fitness Option

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Thalay Sagar wrote:I think you will like quite a bit, Wendell. Atlas makes a very nice shoe and the 930's are a good all-around choice, with an easy to use binding and a reasonably aggressive crampon. Enjoy! I have restarted running and am wearing Hoka's, the ultimate in dork shoes, but just love them.
Yes, I was quite impressed with the higher build quality and design queues on the 930 when compared to similarly priced models from Tubbs and GV. As you noted, in the end, it was about the better and easier to use binding system and more aggressive crampons. Internet reviews seemed more plentiful for them as well, which helped steer me to Atlas.

I couldn't get out yesterday as it was simply too late in the day with fading light by the time I knocked off from work. Today's wind chill is -35c so I am not sure yet Whether I will venture out in this cold for my first time. Although the sun is out and the pathway by the river is well protected with trees along the bank for a good 4 or 5 km. I'll see how the day goes.
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Re: Winter Fitness Option

Post by JRTASTER »

Snowshoeing was once a favorite pastime. Living in Northern New Jersey, the Catskill "Mountains" were just over 3 hours away. There are 35 (?) Catskill "peaks" above 3000 ft.and I climbed them all between Dec. 15 and March 15, tho' it took me several years to do so.
Snowshoes were essential for the hikes in; I used Tubbs aluminum framed shoes with neoprene webbing and bindings and built in ice crampons. Hardly beautiful, but very practical and very rugged; rarely used poles.
Once the ascent began, we generally switched to strapon crampons attached to leather hiking boots and an ice ax as a balancing device. None of the "climbing" was the least bit technical, but the vertical ascents ranged from 800-2000 icy feet. Many times we climbed 2 or 3 peaks per trip. Occasionally, we back-packed overnight. It was glorious fun and fabulous exercise and my physical condition was probably the best in my life.
About 1/3 of the climbs were trailess, so there was an element of orienteering involved; more than once we climbed the "wrong" summit and once in a while we found ourselves following our own foot or snowshoe tracks for an hour, trying to find the "true" summit ( some of which were marked by a canister bearing a log book used to verify your ascent).
This thread brought back some great memories; thanks for letting me ramble on!
Enjoying wet shaving, again.
jr/John
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Re: Winter Fitness Option

Post by jww »

Thx for the ramble. For me this is simply a winter replacement for my bike. A chance to get out of doors and make my body do some work or match my brain's activity levels. I must admit your feat in climbing the peaks in the Catskills is impressive.
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Re: Winter Fitness Option

Post by function »

I have to say this snowshoeing talk makes me very jealous. I have used snowshoes twice, rented both times. My home of Pittsburgh did not lend enough snow to justify purchase.
Winter months are now my preferred running season here in Houston where a 40 degree (3 or 4 degree for the Celsuis inclined) morning is perfect for a nine mile run and ranks among the colder winter mornings. Summer is another story, where I come home drenched after running 5k or 10k after 8pm.
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Re: Winter Fitness Option

Post by JRTASTER »

Wendell,
Rereading my ramble, it came off as "boastful." Sorry, my accomplishments were surely modest: no one would mistake the Catskills as very challenging.
My intent was to confirm how much fun, and how good an exercise snowshoeing can be. For me it was easier on the knees than jogging; the quads also
were given a workout. I found the hips got sore. Using your trekking poles may help improve upper body strength. All in all, simply a great and fun way to stay fit.
A lot of my snowshoe experiences were solo, but many were shared with a few good friends. We were often too winded to carry on much conversation as we
hiked, but when we stopped for a scenic view break, the camaraderie was enhanced by the shared experience. Can you find a partner or two to join you??
And there is something awesomely beautiful about winter scenery that simply can't be beat and enhances the total experience!
I am likewise envious of your new exercise regime... good for you and enjoy!
(Written as we watch the onset of a true Nor' Easter which promises to put down 10 or more inches of fresh snow here on Cape Cod)!
John
Enjoying wet shaving, again.
jr/John
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Re: Winter Fitness Option

Post by jww »

Nick -- I miss running but the 'ole knee (even in a reconstructed condition) is simply not up to the impact any longer. I, like you, always preferred to run in the fall, winter and spring. In fact -- I ran in -35C many a morning and found that so long as I paced myself and took care not to overheat, but keep moving at a slower pace, I could have just as good a run as I could on those days where the weather wasn't so harsh.

I am looking forward to not just talking, but getting out and about on them this weekend sometime.
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Re: Winter Fitness Option

Post by Rufus »

jww wrote:
I am looking forward to not just talking, but getting out and about on them this weekend sometime.
I'd like to get out on my snowshoes this weekend too, but because of the severe ice storm we had before Christmas the snow around here is covered in a thick sheet of ice. I'd have to drive for a few hours to find suitable conditions, which I'm not keen on doing. Enjoy your new snowshoes Wendell, I envy you. I do miss living in Ottawa as it is very conducive to outdoor activities year round. SWMBO and I have talked about moving back, but all the children and grandchildren are here in the GTA.
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Re: Winter Fitness Option

Post by brothers »

Don't most folks hit the gym? Most of those are indoors. Of course, such things as cycling and skiing require wide open spaces, but walking can be done inside, even on a treadmill. I personally prefer simply being outside, just for the record. Hitting the gym seems a bit limiting. I'm not one for using machines. Just a few random thoughts and observations, not necessarily on point. :D
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Re: Winter Fitness Option

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I haven't used a gym for years. It's been cycling, running, Nordic walking, walking, etc. for me. I get far too claustrophobic exercising inside. I don't even like indoor pools for the same reason, although I will do the, if there is absolutely no other option. With the temp rising tomorrow, I am hoping to get away for an hour so for a walk on the 930s. This bitter cold has been to severe and too soon for me.
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Re: Winter Fitness Option

Post by Rufus »

I quite enjoy going to the gym (YMCA) year round. I've been working out with a personal trainer twice a week for the last 3 years and find it quite invigorating. The trainer keeps me focused and, more important, disciplined. My regimen consists of half an hour warm up and cardio by speed walking without the trainer on the indoor track and an hour with the trainer for strength training focused on my core. I prefer to use the indoor track over the treadmill because it is less boring. For the strength training I use a combination of free-weights, machines, medicine balls and Swiss balls. Admittedly not everyone can afford a personal trainer (at the Y it costs $45/hour), but if you can afford it it's well worth the cost. There is an indoor swimming pool at the Y too, but I don't use it, mainly because of the chlorine/chemical smell and general musty odour.
Bryan
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