Christmas is less than a week away—have you finished shopping for your outdoor-loving loved ones? If not, don't fret; RootsRated is here to help. But instead of uninspired gift cards or other unnecessary items, consider some active-minded options— i.e., lessons or experiences—that will help expand their athletic horizons while getting them through the dreary winter months.
If you're in the market for a gift for yourself, that's equally awesome, and Lee Simril, the man behind Chattanooga’s Simril Multisport Coaching, has some suggestions. “Think about what motivates you the most right now,” he says. “Or try something new. Follow your passion, your curiosity, your interest and it will lead you to a good sport through the winter.”
With that in mind, here’s some gift inspiration for the outdoor adventurer in your life, whoever that may be:
Standup paddleboard lessons
According to Mark Baldwin of L2 Boards , paddleboard lessons can take the nervousness right out of the equation for newbies to the sport. Plus, since SUP is fairly easy to pick up, anyone can do it—and it also provides great cross training for many other outdoor activities. It strengthens your core, legs, back and upper body, while improving balance and coordination. Lessons are the first step in what can be a sport for simple enjoyment, or for more competitive types looking to get into racing.
For a truly personal gift, one-on-one coaching can’t be beat to help outdoor enthusiasts emerge from the winter months in prime condition. “A coach can help you focus your goals and training so when your spring event arrives, you can be ready,” says Simril, who works with all types of endurance athletes, from road and trail runners to triathletes to mountain bikers. Active-minded friends are a great source for word-of-mouth recommendations.
Climbing gyms in Chattanooga all offer climbing lessons for all skill types—pick the gym that meets the needs of your lucky gift recipient. If he or she already climbs, consider one-on-one sessions to hone skills, or a punch card or monthly membership for those cold winter months. According to local climbing enthusiast John Wiygul, owner of High Point Climbing Gym , “Kids and adults can benefit from climbing lessons. Learning how to climb and top rope builds self confidence and is a great team-building exercise.” Climbing certainly helps with strength, flexibility and balance, but it also instills vital life skills like problem solving and staying calm in high-pressure situations.
Swimming Lessons or a Master** ’s Group:**
For an invigorating way to burn off those winter pounds (up to 300 calories in 30 minutes) while looking ahead to spring triathlons, swimming is just the ticket. It’s a great overall workout and, for beginners, learning the basics is manageable with a little guidance. Try the YMCA or Baylor or McCallie schools for swimming lessons, or a Master’s group to help hone skills or train with like-minded people.
Hang Gliding or Parachuting
Chattanooga has the premier hang gliding school in the country at Lookout Mountain , and Tullahoma , just over an hour away, has a drop zone. Consider lessons in either sport or a tandem glide or jump. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience that can turn into a new passion—or simply offer a memorable way to soar into 2015.