Health Coaching Hints.

Weekly hints from our nationally certified Health Coach Erika Zink on how to make healthy habit changes.

Health Coaching Hints

November 2021 Health Coaching Hints: Winter Movement

winter movement

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Focused health goals

A plan directed at improving two or more health conditions through targeted coaching and goals.

A change partner

Private one-on-one coaching sessions that are held either in-person or over the telephone.

Flexible scheduling

A coaching timetable that is flexible to your schedule with a frequency that works for you.

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Through personality assessment, values exploration, and other tools you and your coach will determine what really matters to you.


The support you need to maintain and achieve your self-defined goals related to sleep, relaxation, movement, nutrition, stress, and relationships.

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Erika Zink, Health Coach

Have a Plan

Safety is always an important part of any activity, especially when it’s outdoors. The winter months bring new challenges that are important to be aware of before you head out.  

When making a plan for winter sports, keep these topics in mind: 

  • Know your route to keep your time in the cold as minimal as possible 
  • Know the weather conditions (avalanche, storms) 
  • Tell someone (where you are going and when you expect to be back – especially for remote locations) 
  • Stay hydrated and pack plenty of nutritious snacks 


When it comes to winter sports, the major risk is associated with an avalanche. Having a basic understanding of what can lead to an avalanche to ensure you minimize the danger can go a long ways towards ensuring your safety. You can learn more about the basics of avalanche safety here: 


According to the Washington State Parks Department, there are five key safety guidelines when in avalanche country ( 

  • PROPER GEAR: Ensure everyone has an avalanche transceiver, shovel and probe on their person and knows how to use them. 
  • KNOW THE FORECAST: Make a riding plan based on the current avalanche and weather forecast. 
  • GET OUT OF HARM'S WAY: One at a time on all avalanche slopes. Don't go to help your stuck friend. Don't group up in runout zones. 
  • GET THE TRAINING: Take an avalanche course. 
  • GET THE PICTURE: If you see recent avalanche activity unstable snow exists, stay out of that area. Riding on or underneath slopes is dangerous. 

Dynamic Stretching in Cold Weather

Stretching should always be part of your movement routine, no matter if you are working out indoors or out. It’s not just for runners or elite athletes.

For all people, stretching increases range of motion and flexibility by making your tissues longer (ligaments and muscles) longer by reducing stiffness.

Proper stretching will also help improve performance, lower your chance of injury and help with feeling sore post-workout.

Static stretches are better to be performed in warmer conditions, as they are stretches that you would hold for up to 45 seconds to really lengthen out the muscles.

Dynamic stretching is better for cold weather workouts, although it is also beneficial in warmer weather. The repetitive movements of dynamic stretching (think arm circles or leg raises) keep the blood flowing while also keeping the muscles loose.

These stretches actively tighten your muscles and move joints through their full range of motion. When you hear someone say, “Warm up your muscles”, this is what they mean. This form of stretching can im- prove speed, agility and acceleration.

You should spend 5-10 minutes warming up your muscles before you do any kind of workout or exercise.

Use the Right Gear

When the weather gets colder, being sure to have the right gear to keep active while outside is important to ensure you enjoy yourself and prevent hypothermia or frostbite.  

My go to resource for outdoor gear is REI and you can find a plethora of resources on what to look for when purchasing gear for your chosen activity. The key to winter exercise is to understand the art of layering. Through the use of layers you can ensure you regulate your body temperature and keep moisture away from your skin so that you stay warm and dry no matter which activity you are enjoying. 


You’ll want to be sure to match your layering combination to the weather, activity level, and to match your personal preference. The three layers to consider include: 

  • The base layer – to wick away moisture and perspiration so you stay warm and dry. 
  • The mid layer – to insulate and keep you warm 
  • The outer layer – to block wind and repel water while allowing moisture to escape 


As you can imagine, the material used for each layer can have an impact on how well it performs. You can learn more about each of these here: 




Change Up Your Activity

Winter is coming and that can mean a disruption to your exercise routine, especially if you are someone who enjoys working out outside. While you can still continue to do things like walking, running, hiking, and cycling, as the weather gets colder new options are now available.  


Rather than struggle with feeling like you can’t do anything because it is too cold, here are some fun new activities that you can only do this time of year: 



Great full body workouts, there are many mountains around us that offer beautiful skiing and snowboarding options. A quick search on the internet can lead you to a list of options. 



While many ski resorts offer trails specific to snowshoers and cross-country skiers, another option is to utilize the many Sno-Parks throughout the state.  


A permit is required for these areas, so be sure to check out to learn where you can get one locally.  



Another way to get out with the whole family is to find a winter recreation area that offers sledding and tubing options. To get you started, here are a couple of ideas that are not too far away:  



A local option is to strap on some ice skates and glide around the Toyota Arena. Public skate sessions are for 90 minutes with a varying schedule. Be sure to check for times on their website: 


There are many other winter sports out there that you could use to keep you active over the winter months. These are just a few to get you started. Next week, I’ll share with you how to make sure you have the right gear to be sure you get the most out of your new activities. 


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