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Yoga Hip Openers for Winter Athletes

After a full day of snowboarding, skiing or snowshoeing the muscles of the hips can shorten and tighten. Flexible, open hips are a must for winter athletes. Without them performance may decrease while the risk of injury increases.

The following hip opening yoga poses are a must for keeping the lower body healthy and limber.

Warrior I and Crescent Lunge for the Hip Flexors

The psoas muscles, located along the front crease of the hips, are the powerful muscles that give winter athletes control, stability and strength. When they are tight, the low back suffers and as a result, injury can occur.

Yoga poses that stretch the psoas muscles are warrior one and crescent lunge. Similar to a runner’s lunge, these poses extend the front of the hip, giving those mighty hip flexors a dose of elasticity. For best results, be sure to tuck your tailbone under slightly.


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3 Yoga Poses for Pain Free Snow Shoveling

Just like a tough weightlifting routine at the gym, shoveling snow is also hard work. Treat it as you would any hardcore yet safe and effective workout and you will gain the benefits just as you would a carefully designed exercise program.

The following yoga poses and shoveling tips can help keep you strong, fit and protect your body from injury when the sidewalk is knee-deep in snow.

Recline Twist

A flexible spine is a healthy spine, especially when it comes to shoveling heavy snow. Practice this twist before and after shoveling.

Lie down on your back with your right knee pulled into your chest and your left leg extended on the floor. Reach for your right knee with your left hand and roll onto your left hip. Extend your right arm out to the side. Hold for 10 deep breaths and switch sides.


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Guided Imagery to Survive the Dark Days of Winter

It is estimated that at least 6 out of 100 people suffer from some type of light deficient depression during the dark days of winter, but turning your clock back an hour doesn’t have to leave you in the dark. If sunshine on your shoulders makes you happy and being starved for daylight puts you in a funk, imagining the sun can be the next best thing to keep your spirits up this winter.

Your imagination is very effective since your mind and body sometimes don’t know the difference between whether your brain is just thinking something or if you are actually experiencing something. According to the American Psychological Association, studies have associated the use of guided imagery techniques with positive outcomes such as reduced anxiety and depression. So, whenever you need to bask in some radiant sunshine, whether you are inside or out, this simple guided imagery can help.
Practice the following sequence as often as necessary and start to feel brighter, more cheerful and full of positive energy.


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Look Forward to Winter Running with Proper Preparation

“Don’t. Even. Say. It.” That’s my response to the weather man’s reference to winter being just around the corner.

Living in a climate that embraces all the seasons can be challenging for a runner. However, for me, there’s no season worse for running than winter. I loathe the cold winds, the freezing temps, and the icy roads. But, I hate the treadmill more and I simply can not fathom giving up this sport just because the weather has turned foul. After years of frost bite, icy eyelashes, and chills, I have found a few tricks to take on mother nature and continue running through the winter.

If I can impart one tip to a runner in the cold, this is the most important one: Wear mittens. Be sure you read that right, I said mittens, not gloves, mittens. Gloves are great and I have several pairs. I use them in the cool seasons. But when the temps are below freezing, mittens are the best way to keep those digits warm. Technically, mittens have a higher thermal efficiency than gloves. I don’t operate in the technical world too well. All I know is that after years of pain, as my hands would start to go numb and my run was consumed with the pain, I tried a pair of mittens and my hands actually got sweaty they were so warm. Make sure to get them early, because stores sell out fast. You can thank me later.


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5 Tips to a Better Winter Workout

Winter RunningAs cold weather continues to blast the majority of the U.S., most people will be working out indoors. A few brave souls still seeking fresh air will want to read these tips to staying healthy while exercising in the cold, plus a few hints for those who are still gym-bound.

1) Lighten your workout if you have a cold.
If you have “above the neck” symptoms, like a runny nose or sore throat, but no symptoms in the chest or swollen lymph nodes, you can still workout. According to FitSugar, it’s a good idea to start at about half the intensity that you usually follow.

2) Avoid wet clothes.

Change out of sweaty clothes before you leave the gym, and if you’re working out outside be sure to pick garments that breath well (not cotton). Wet clothes can make it harder for your body to stay warm, and lead to a weakened immune system.


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