Summer in Alaska is one of my favorite parts of living here! Even though I am a professional cross country ski racer, summer still takes the cake. With endless daylight comes endless opportunities to adventure. In order to make the most of the summer, I am a believer in preparation. While some may call it "beach bod" season, I call it preparation season. Doing things like hiking, fishing, rafting, and biking require a little bit of strength and stamina to unlock a whole new world of opportunities and locations.
One of my favorite ways to take advantage of the early summer is to work on my muscle endurance. Whether I am trying to hike to the top of Mount Marathon on the 4th or July, bike on the mountain bike trails at Kincaid, or stand up paddle board on Jewel Lake, all of these activities are so much more enjoyable if I do some preparation beforehand.
When I come into the Alaska Club to work on my summer preparation fitness, I have several "go to" activities. I know that a consistent routine of following these will ensure that my adventure season is more enjoyable. Some of my top activities of choice are:
1. Zumba- this is one of my favorite ways to work up a sweat, and work on my foot strength. Also, you learn some new dance moves, and get some cardio benefits too. At the end of the day, you have jumped around for approximately an hour, and your feet and calves are one step closer to taking on some adventures on foot. Not only that, you may just be able to surprise your friends and family when you hook your first trout in a high mountain stream, and break out a newly minted victory dance.
2. Fifteen minutes of Stair Stepper- Many of Alaska's best hikes have pretty steep trails. If you spend 15 minutes, two to three times a week, your calves, hamstrings, and quads will be in a good place to take on some of the steeper outdoor adventures.
3. Ten minutes of Core- My current favorite method of working on my core is with a physioball. I have a variety of exercises that I use, but my favorite style is to look up "ten minute core with physioball" online. There are so many varieties of exercises, and searching online ensures that you do something different and interesting each time. Here is an example of a ten minute core routine that incorporates your core as well as other important muscles: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ChRgTA2toC0 The majority of outdoor adventures incorporate some amount of core stability, so this is a great foundation for making the most of adventure season.
4. Aqua Fitness- During times of injury, I have always taken advantage of aqua jogging in the Alaska Club pools. What I have learned is that aqua fitness is a fun way to be proactive about cardio with low impact on your joints. There are a variety of activities to choose from, ranging from water aerobics, to aqua wave running, to interval aqua jogging. It is a super fun way to build your cardio and can even be done in groups to keep things extra entertaining.
5. Weight Lifting- This is the "traditional" reason to go visit a gym, but sometimes the most intimidating part of the gym. I have found the best way to take advantage of all the equipment, and props, is to come with a "plan". There are lots of opportunities to work with a personal trainer, or look up some specific workouts online. Most of the weight lifting that I do in the gym has a purpose of building some base strength so that when I get on my skis, I can do the correct movements. Weight lifting is a foundation for many things. Whether you are moving this summer, and carrying a lot of boxes, planning on floating Campbell Creek, or looking to make it to the top of O'Malley Peak, many of these activities require base strength. My best advice is to develop a plan ahead of time so that when you show up you can be effective and efficient, without getting intimidated or distracted.
When? Start now, the summer still has many adventures to come.
Where? There are so many varied activities at each Alaska Club location. Check the schedules, and the website, and make sure you are keeping things exciting and interesting.
Why? This could be your most exciting summer ever, because you finally built up the fitness to tackle that bucket list summer adventure you and your family have been dreaming of!
Visit the http://www.thealaskaclub.com/schedules for club schedules.