Guru Magazine - - Contents -

You have to ad­mire Fit­ness Guru, Matt Lins­dell: based in Ottawa, Canada, even tem­per­a­tures of -20°C won’t stop him go­ing out for a run. He has test driven the five top gifts to keep you (or your loved ones) in shape this win­ter.

Ev­ery year it’s the same prob­lem: what do I get so-and-so for Christ­mas? If one of your loved ones is an ex­er­cise en­thu­si­ast, look no fur­ther! Matt Lins­dell, our Fit­ness Guru, knows all about the must-haves for ac­tive peo­ple this win­ter hol­i­day. If you’re the fit one, why not treat your­self? Go on, you de­serve it.

Reg­u­lar read­ers will know that I usu­ally write about fit­ness, per­sonal mis­ad­ven­tures, and

my dog (you can nor­mally tell which is which). In the spirit of fes­tiv­ity, here is some­thing a

lit­tle dif­fer­ent: a list my favourite things that help make my win­ter here in Canada ac­tive, fun,

and safe. Not all of them are specif­i­cally for win­ter ac­tiv­i­ties so you needn’t feel left out, you

South­ern-hemi­sphe­ri­ans. And, be­cause it is gift-giv­ing sea­son, I’ll give you guys some items

to add to your wish list for the big guy up­stairs.

(And by up­stairs, I mean the North Pole.)

5. A Wrist-Mounted GPS

The price of ‘never-get-lost’ gad­gets has plum­meted since I got my first one in 2006. If you are not fa­mil­iar with what a wrist-mounted GPS is, it’s ba­si­cally a large watch that uses satel­lites to pin­point your po­si­tion on the Earth and then tracks your move­ments across it. It records speed and dis­tance in km/h or mph, and el­e­va­tion in me­tres or feet. It’s a bit like a car nav­i­ga­tion GPS but it won’t give you road di­rec­tions, and some mod­els record your heart rate. I much pre­fer th­ese wrist units to any smart­phone or hand­held GPS be­cause you can use them re­gard­less of what you are do­ing – be it cy­cling, run­ning, kayak­ing, or horse­back rid­ing (or sit­ting

in the bar? - Ed). Whether you’re run­ning to keep in shape or you’re pre­par­ing for an up­com­ing race, a por­ta­ble GPS should give you ex­tra mo­ti­va­tion. It doesn’t have to be for se­ri­ous ath­letes ei­ther; I have a friend who tracks her daily dog walks and uses a GPS de­vice to add up all the dis­tances each week. Some mod­els have a wire­less up­load fea­ture that au­to­mat­i­cally syncs with your com­puter when you re­turn home, al­low­ing you to view your ad­ven­ture on a Google Map-type in­ter­face. So why not give it a try? You can al­ways re­turn it to the store and use the money to buy a box of frozen bur­ri­tos in­stead.

4. Run­ning Snow­shoes

Trip­ping and fall­ing in snow is some­thing I have done way too many times. Some­times I have per­formed some rather spec­tac­u­lar – and em­bar­rass­ing – wipe-outs. If some­one had caught one on a phone cam­era then I’m sure it would have made for hi­lar­i­ous footage. I have been lucky so far, but this was be­fore I dis­cov­ered run­ning snow­shoes. Ev­ery­one knows what snow­shoes are: big flat ten­nis rack­ets you wear on the bot­tom of your boots to in­crease the sur­face area so that you don’t fall through the snow. But what you might not re­alise is that there are smaller, more stream­lined ver­sions de­signed for those of us who like to run on snowy trails. Run­ning snow­shoes are nar­row metal frames with a fab­ric ‘deck’ that slips over your pre­ferred win­ter footwear. Snow­shoes usu­ally have fairly large ‘teeth’ on the bot­tom that give you good grip on slip­pery sur­faces and in­clines. I love run­ning snow­shoes be­cause they can help keep you aer­o­bi­cally fit with­out the fear of some­one see­ing you fall on your butt… and then suf­fer­ing the in­dig­nity of your mishap go­ing vi­ral on YouTube.

3. Fleece-Lined Gloves

With the ex­cep­tion of frost­bite to the pri­vate parts, there are few things worse in win­ter than freez­ing cold hands. I am one of those peo­ple who of­ten has cold hands, so a good pair of gloves is some­thing I’ve come to ap­pre­ci­ate. We all know that when we ex­er­cise, we pro­duce heat. De­pend­ing on the type of ex­er­cise you are do­ing and what the weather is like, it is good to wear a pair of suit­able gloves. Run­ning tends to gen­er­ate mas­sive amounts of heat, so your hands warm up quickly and may even start to sweat. It’s nor­mally OK to wear a nor­mal fleece glove. But you should al­ways try to get a glove that ‘wicks’ the mois­ture out­wards (which is ac­tu­ally cap­il­lary ac­tion) – many fleece gloves do this, but check first. A wick­ing glove will keep your hands dry and com­fort­able. When I’m on my bike, it’s a whole dif­fer­ent story. The wind chill fac­tor makes it nec­es­sary to use a glove with a wind-proof layer. And when it is re­ally cold, I pre­fer mitts be­cause they have the thick­est fab­ric and keep the most warmth in. So what­ever you do, re­mem­ber to take care of all your ex­trem­i­ties – not just your hands. No one wants to get frost­bite.

2.5. Adult Di­a­pers

Th­ese are great to slip on un­der your snow­suit be­fore a long day of down­hill ski­ing or snow­board­ing. They keep you on the hill longer and make chair­lift break­downs less anx­i­ety-pro­duc­ing. This is ob­vi­ously a joke. I’m just keep­ing you all on your toes...

2. Ice Spikes for your Bike Tyres

I like to ride my bike all year round. In fact, I try to cy­cle to work ev­ery day. This isn’t as crazy as it might seem: the right equip­ment can make cy­cling in win­ter safer than driv­ing. Suc­cess in win­ter cy­cling starts where the rub­ber meets the road… lit­er­ally. Ice spike tyres/tires can cost more than any high-end bike tyre, but the in­vest­ment is worth it. Two tanks of gas will eas­ily pay for a pair that should last you an en­tire win­ter or more. Things to look for in a good ice tyre are spikes that are made of a car­bide metal ma­te­rial (a su­per hard sub­stance that is used to make ar­mour-pierc­ing shells). If they aren’t made of car­bide metal, then don’t ex­pect them to last more than a cou­ple of months. If you pay more, you can go for tyres with more spikes (which I al­ways do). The grip is so good that you can cy­cle across a freshly pol­ished skat­ing rink and slam on your brakes with no slip­page.

1. Noise-Can­celling Head­phones

My girl­friend, my neigh­bours, and any­one who knows me will think it strange if I’m not wear­ing large head­phones at all times – ex­cept when I’m cy­cling or driv­ing a car. I can’t live with­out my noise-can­celling head­phones. There are a cou­ple of rea­sons why: Now be­ing in my 30s, I fear for my eardrums: noise­can­celling ear­phones let me have clear mu­sic with­out crank­ing up the vol­ume. Also, they com­pletely en­ve­lope my ears, keep­ing frost­bite away. On very cold days, a wind­proof hood over the ear­phones pro­vides more than enough in­su­la­tion to keep me warm and rockin’ out (or lis­ten­ing to the lat­est Guru

pod­cast episode – Ed). I’ve walked the dog at mi­nus 30 °C with my ear­phones and a hood and not had to worry about my ears need­ing am­pu­ta­tion. So that’s it. The rest is up to you. Don’t get stuck on a tread­mill this win­ter: get out­side and breathe deep in the cold air. You will feel in­vig­o­rated. And when spring hits, you’ll be beach-body ready.

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