Fitness tips for the cycling offseason

In many parts of the country chances are you won’t be riding your bike much in the winter.
Hours of riding trails, or maybe even days at a time if you take long-distance trips, can seem like distant memories as snow and ice cover the roads.
Chances are you still try to stay in shape over the winter, but it can’t be nearly as much fun as riding the trails and roads if that’s your favorite sport.
However, there are some good ways to make the most of the biking “offseason.”
Here are six tips to get you through the long “layover” between bike trips:

Cross country ski – If you can’t beat winter, join it. Rent some cross country skis and give it a try. Take a lesson if possible. It takes some getting used to, but you’re not going nearly as fast as downhill skiing so falls shouldn’t hurt too much. This is a great way to breathe in fresh air, see beautiful scenery and get aerobic exercise similar to biking. Your legs will get a great workout too.

Go snowshoeing – Less common, but snowshoeing can be a lot of fun too. You’d have to live in an area with a lot of snow.

Focus on strength training in gym – Rebuild your body with weightlifting (focusing on legs), do plenty of ab work and mix in agility drills, too, like plyometrics.

Walk the dogs – Take your dog (or dogs) out for regular walks. Maybe even consider volunteering to walk dogs for the local shelter. This could be a physical and mental boost each time you do it and it’s great cross training.

Swim – Hit the muscles a different way by swimming instead of biking. A great cross training method for the winter.

Ride the exercise bike – Most avid cyclists I talk to don’t totally give up pedaling during the winter. Buy yourself an exercise bike, or get yours tuned up, and go to town indoors.

At Home Fitness consultant Aaron Dorksen’s blog deals with a variety of fitness topics, ranging from workout tips, motivational ideas and feature stories on how exercise impacts people’s lives. E-mail him with comments, questions or ideas for future blogs at