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The Active Holiday: 5 Great Activities for Adventurous Spirits

The Active Holiday: 5 Great Activities for Adventurous Spirits

The bells are jingling, cinnamon is sweet and pungent in the air, and our New Year’s resolution lists are over and done. Soon enough, winter will make us sleepy, and it’s only December! There’s so much to do, eat, smell and feel until the snowy season comes to an end, so do your best to stay awake. Yes, your favourite blanket is warm and inviting and somebody’s bought a new cocoa flavour that matches your reading plans perfectly, but there’s a whole wide world outside your paper snowflake windows that waits to be explored.

Go outside and start a snowball fight with your neighbours! It will remind you of simpler times, when the great white mountains were at the reach of your hand. Dust off the family sled and build a snow fort. Hopefully, that will only be the beginning of the great outdoor holiday adventure that you’ll be returning to for many Christmases to come.

What follows is not your everyday skiing vacation, but the one that would make even the worst of adrenaline junkies feel all cozy and snug on the inside.

1. Heli-Skiing

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    Okay, I lied a bit – your journey will indeed start with skiing, but it will be like nothing you’ve experienced before, I promise. Heli-skiing is the latest in winter wonderland trends for tireless daredevils and is double the fun, double the thrill and, of course, double the danger.

    Especially for those who despise overcrowded ski tracks and enjoy the ruthless isolation of backcountry skiing, heli-skiing promises one heck of a ride. Instead of wasting fresh snow while waiting in endless lift lines, you’ll be dropped off at the highest peak of the mountain and left there to find your way back down.

    If you’re in the neighbourhood, head straight to British Columbia and never look back. Canadians have mastered this art in terms of both experience and safety, and you’ll hardly find the same level of professionalism anywhere else. In case you have no other choice, be sure to check regulations before you go heli-skiing in the USA or Europe, since some countries offer only a single ride to the mountains and do not care about your survival techniques.

    2. Ice-Diving

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      While exploring the highest tops of the Lumberjack Country, grab the chance to dive underneath the surface as well. Ice-diving is another winter adventure activity that Canadians excel in, and it’s set to change your view on the world in the trippiest way possible.

      Then again, you can go a bit further than that and make ice-diving the end goal of your holiday escapade. Antarctica is where it all began, so why not take the opportunity and book the trip to the Great White Desert? A vacation cannot get more wintery than that, don’t you think?

      In Antarctica or somewhere else, don’t expect to go deeper than 30 feet; anything more would be extremely dangerous. While treading on the fine line between exhilaration and panic, look out for all the sea butterflies, hedgehogs, horsetails and other creatures with funny names that inhabit the abysmal coldness. And, in case you do get anxious underneath, don’t worry, since what awaits you on the surface is cute and cuddly like your warmest childhood dreams. That’s right, you’ll get to spend your Christmas with penguins!

      3. Kite-Skiing

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        Like heli-skiing and ice-diving, this insane winter sport is not an activity for everyone. In fact, kite-skiing is considered a combination of sailing, kite flying and skiing, and you’ll have to be quite experienced in at least one in order to master the technique.

        What’s interesting, however, is that kite-skiing comes incredibly cheap. What you need is suggested by the name – this activity requires nothing but kite equipment and regular downhill skis (also, you can use a snowboard if you prefer). It doesn’t even require a hill! In case vacationing is not an option, kite-skiing is something you can do in your windy backyard.

        The physics behind it are simple enough to grasp. The kite provides the pull, similarly to the mainsail on a sailboat. When you are going upwind, the kite becomes powerful enough to support the skier’s weight, which provides some brilliant opportunities for stunts. So, learn your physics, practise hard, and try not to break something you can’t do without.

        4. Off-Roading

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          When somebody proposes a walking vacation, most adrenaline junkies are quick to discard the idea as not death-defying enough. All of you who think hiking is any less adrenaline-packed than it actually is, I dare you to try! Once the fresh air fills out your lungs and your blisters start to rupture, you’ll sing an entirely different song.

          Unexpectedly, you’ll find that hiking requires an electrified spirit and a strategic approach, just like all the best sports do. Soon enough, you’ll get hooked and trails will become too narrow for your newly opened mind. Then, start off-roading for yet undiscovered excitement!

          It’s simply how we were made – wanderlust runs through our veins and itches our feet with every step we take, so why not make this holiday season all about those blood-pumping off-roading trails that the USA is so luckily endowed with? After all, it’s the only proper way of celebrating our nature-bound roots, our wonderfully nomadic traditions, and our utterly human instincts.

          5. Glacier Climbing

            If learning a new skill is one of your resolutions for the New Year and you’re eager to cross off another destination from your bucket list, then off to the glaciers! Whether you choose to climb to the alpine tops or simply to hike your way up, glacier climbing is one of the best Christmas gifts you can surprise your adventurous spirit with.

            Now, this winter activity is not for the faint-hearted. Prepare to spend a lot of freezing hours practicing the techniques before you even lift your feet off the ground and, most importantly, don’t be afraid to feel a bit frightened in the process. Book a course in spite of all that, and thank me later.

            You’ll find that Iceland is where the glacier climbing action is, though Alaska is considered equally fun. I don’t have to warn you that this activity doesn’t come cheap, but it’s certainly one of those things that we like to call “once in a lifetime”. It’ll be chilly and terrifying, but you’ll love every single minute of it.

            Don’t spend your holiday break in the bed! There’s plenty of time for being a proud no-lifer once the snowdrops begin sprouting, so treat yourself with a good old mason jar of pure, unadulterated adrenaline. Hopefully, it will wake you up and make you smell the routine.

            More by this author

            Vladimir Zivanovic

            CMO at MyCity-Web

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            Last Updated on August 15, 2018

            7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

            7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

            Bodyweight exercises are gaining ground in the fitness world due to the practicality and simplicity of getting in shape using your own body weight. Planks are one form of bodyweight exercises that will never go out of fashion. Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Why? Because they require a small time investment on your part, and offer the chance to achieve substantial results in a relatively short span of time.

            Video Summary

            Why is it important to train up our core strength?

            There are numerous sites and blogs which detail ways to build your core muscles or core strength. Often though, these sites neglect to explain what your core muscles actually are, and why building them is important.

            This is quite surprising, as core muscles are quite easy to explain. Your core muscles are a series of muscles in your midsection, and are used in most forms of movement. Though they aren’t housed in your arms or legs, your core muscles can help transfer force from one limb to another, or are used in addition to muscles in your arms or legs to increase their effectiveness. As such a strong core will make a big improvement on your ability to move and exercise further.

            Also they are great for helping other muscles in your midsection such as your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are important for supporting your back and spinal column, and as such are important aids in preventing injuries. However for them to be most effective you need to spend a lot of time developing your core muscles.

            In short, planking exercises can make a huge improvement in your muscles down your whole body. Making them a hugely effective exercise to perform.

            One Exercise, multiple benefits

            There are few forms of exercise as effective at building your core as planking exercises. However, planking exercises benefit far more than just your core strength.

            By holding yourself in the position for a planking exercise, you’ll notice that your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles are also being tested and strained. This this encouraging their buildup and development. This is great news if you like to do press ups, developed shoulder muscles will have a big impact on your press up performance.

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            When planking, you are holding yourself up through your arms and biceps and so by holding a planking position, your arm muscles are being toned and developed. Making planking a great alternative exercise to other forms of bicep developing exercises.

            Moving down your midsection, successful plank exercises actually develop the muscles in your butt! These muscles tend to be ignored by a lot of exercises, so this is another great benefit of plank exercises.

            In much the same way as you develop your biceps and arm muscles, holding the planking position helps develop the muscles in your thighs too.

            What is even better is that planking exercises don’t take much time at all. In fact you should probably only spend about ten minutes max per day in the planking exercise.

            What will happen when you start doing planks every day

              1. You’ll improve core definition and performance: 

              Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominusthe external oblique muscle, and the glutes. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:

              • Transverse abdominis: increased ability to lift heavier weights.
              • Rectus adbominis: improved sports performance, particularly with jumping. This muscle group is also responsible for giving you the renowned six pack look.
              • Oblique muscles: improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
              • Glutes: a supported back and a strong, shapely booty.

              2. You’ll decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column

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                Doing planks is a type of exercise that allow you to build muscle while also making sure that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine or hips. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing planks regularly not only significantly reduces back pain but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your entire back, especially in the areas around your upper back.

                Check out this article if you would like to find out about how doing planks on different surfaces can impact the effectiveness of this exercise in strengthening your core.

                3. You’ll experience an increased boost to your overall metabolism

                  Planking is an excellent way of challenging your entire body because doing them every day will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a day-to-day basis will ensure that you burn more energy even when sedentary. This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer. Also, making it a daily 10- to 1 minute home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate but it will also ensure that that metabolic rate remains high all day long, (yes, even while you are asleep).

                  4. You’ll significantly improve your posture

                    Planking exercises have a great impact and improvement on your posture. This is great news as a strong posture brings with it a huge number of fantastic benefits .

                    A good posture keeps your bones and joins in the correct alignment which means both your bones and joints will be better maintained and more healthy, but also means the overall effectiveness of your muscles will be improved.

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                    A good posture will ensure your back or spine is in the correct position and so you will suffer less back pain.

                    On top of everything, someone with good posture looks better, healthier, and more confident.

                    5. You’ll improve overall balance

                      Have you ever felt that when you tried standing on one leg, you couldn’t stand up straight for more than a couple of seconds? It’s not because you were drunk- unless you happened to be at the time!-  but rather, it’s because your abdominal muscles weren’t strong enough to give you the balance you needed. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.

                      6. You’ll become more flexible than ever before

                        Flexibility is a key benefit of doing planks regularly, for this form of exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups – shouldersshoulder blades, and collarbone – while also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes. With a side plank added in to the mix, you can also work on your oblique muscles. This will provide you with further benefits when it comes to hyper-extending your toes, a movement that is crucial for supporting your body’s weight.

                        7. You’ll witness mental benefits

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                          Plank exercises have a particular effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving overall mood. How? Well, they stretch out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension in the body. Just think about it: you are sitting in your chair, at home or at work, all day long; your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours; and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day. These are all circumstances that put too stress on the muscles and nerves. The good news is that planks not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression– but only if you make it part of your daily routine.

                          How to hold a plank position

                          1. Get into pushup position on the floor.
                          2. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
                          3. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
                          4. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
                          5. Hold the position for as long as you can.
                          6. Remember to breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.
                          7. When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.

                          Watch the video if you have any doubt!

                          Here is a great infographic that shows the best plank variation exercises to evenly target all abdominal muscle groups:

                            How to improve your plank time gradually

                            1. Start with the easier variation if needed. You can start with a bent-knee plank if you can’t perform a regular plank yet. If you can hold a plank for more than two minutes with ease, you can move on to these tougher variations.
                            2. Practise every day. Space your planking exercise throughout the day and do 3-4 times every day. Try to hold the position 10 seconds longer each time.
                            3. Perform other body-weight exercises at the same time. Push-up and squat will improve your core strength too.

                            Are you ready to devote 5-10 minutes of your day, every day, to stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, strong as a bull? Then jump in and make doing plank exercises a part of your life.

                            Who Should Be Cautious Doing The Plank?

                            You need to be cautious doing Planking exercises if any of these risks apply to you:

                            • Prolapse
                            • After prolapse surgery
                            • Pelvic pain conditions
                            • Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
                            • Previous childbirth
                            • Overweight

                            Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.

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