Wind Down with Cross Training
Switch it up this fall with these cross training faves
Starting to wind down your running or cycling mileage for the summer? Here are some other fun cross-training activities you can do to help keep you moving outdoors while the weather is still nice.
Agility training – Agility training is a great way to mix things up as you start to wind down your endurance training from the summer, especially if an obstacle course race is in your future. Head to a local park or playground and practice jumping over park benches, sprinting in the grass, running through tires, and hopping over logs or rock. If there are no parks nearby, pick up an agility ladder and practice a few drills outside at home.
Geocaching - If you’re looking for a fun, outdoorsy activity to do with your kids that only requires a smart phone, good hiking shoes, water and snacks, it might be time to give geocaching a try. Geocaching, where you use GPS to hunt for hidden “cache” boxes with cool treasures inside, is a great way to get some exercise outdoors and spend time with your family. For tips on how to get started, check out this beginner’s guide to geocaching with your family.
Hiking – Fall is one of the best times of the year to hit the trails in Canada, and not just because extreme temperatures, poor weather and bugs and other irritants that can ruin your hike during the spring and summer months are nowhere to be found—hiking in the fall also means that you get treated to the stunning colours of the season, and what better way to keep moving than to enjoy the scenery of some of Canada’s best trails that you may have missed while you were so focused on training this summer.
Paddling – If you were too busy with endurance training all summer to get out on the water, the fall is still a great time to explore your local waterways by canoe, stand-up paddleboard or kayak. Head to any paddle or surf shop to rent your watercraft of choice and take in the fall scenery from the shoreline for a few hours. Just remember to dress warm in layers, especially if you plan to paddle in the ocean.
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Best Core Workouts
A strong core helps you move and perform better in all aspects of life, from carrying groceries to going on a multi-day hike. Here are the best workouts to help keep your core strong
Your core is the foundation for all physical movement and stabilization in your body, helping you move and perform better in all aspects of life—from carrying groceries, doing chores and playing with your kids to running, swimming and hiking—so it’s important to keep it strong.
Your core, which is made up of all the muscles in your torso such as your obliques, abdominals, erector spinae and glutes, only moves in four variations or combinations of the following basic movement patterns: flexion (curling your torso in), extension (bending your torso back), rotation (twisting your torso) and lateral flexion (contracting the side of your torso). Here are some of the best core workouts you can do that incorporate each of these planes of movements to help keep you moving and performing at your best.
Jackknife (single plane, trunk flexion) – Lie on your back on a yoga mat with your arms and legs extended. Engage your core by pulling your belly button in to your spine and raising your legs up off the mat while bringing your arms over head and reaching out in front towards your toes. Hold for a count of three before lowering back down to the mat before repeating the move 8 to 12 times.
Bird Dog (single plane, trunk extension) – Get on all fours on your mat with your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Keeping your head down and aligned with your spine, reach your right arm up out in front of you while simultaneously extending your left leg back behind you, using your core to stabilize your body and ensuring your hips and shoulders are parallel to the floor. Hold for three seconds before lowering your limbs back down and extending your arm and leg on the opposite side, alternating for 8 to 12 reps.
Russian Twist (single plane, trunk rotation) – Grab a light dumbbell or medicine ball and sit on your mat with your legs
out in front of you, knees bent and your feet placed on the mat. Engage your core and lean back slightly, either keeping your feet on the mat or raising them off the mat slightly for a more challenging exercise. Hold the dumbbell out in front of you, and twist slowly from side to side, alternating for 8 to 12 reps.
Side Plank (static/isometric, trunk lateral flexion) – Lying on one side on your mat, engage your core as you place one elbow or hand directly under your shoulder while stacking your feet so you’re propped up on your side, keeping your spine in a straight line from your head to your feet. Hold this position for 30 to 60 seconds before switching sides.