It’s almost time for the snow to fly and with snow comes skiing, which is one of the reasons many of us reside in this valley! Skiing is a great way to stay in shape while having fun during the colder months, but since it’s not something we can practice beforehand, getting your body in top shape now will make your experience on the slopes far more enjoyable. If you already have an exercise program in place, there are many different ways to adjust it to make it more activity-specific. If you currently don’t have a plan in place, it’s not too late to start!
Some of the benefits of being physically prepared for the ski season include being able to ski longer without getting tired, reduce the chance of muscle soreness, decrease potential injury due to falls, and improve hip and thoracic spine movement.
Since skiing is a total-body form of exercise, it is important to train all areas, although of course some muscles are more involved than others. When it comes to legs, the main muscles used in skiing are quads, glutes and hamstrings. The best way to train them would be to focus on a few different methods. Plyometric (jumping) exercises are great because they mimic choppy conditions or bump skiing. Strength conditioning exercises can be used to help develop muscular endurance. This includes isometric holds for those times when you want to hold that tuck for a little longer so that you can pull ahead of your friends.
Leg strength definitely plays an important role, but core strength is also a major factor. By working on your anterior, posterior, and rotational core, not only will your overall strength increase, but so will your balance. With improved balance comes a greater ability to react and recover from a potential fall, as well as making you more agile when you are working your way through those tight trees! Having a strong core will also help reduce the strain placed on the knee ligaments, which is one of the joints most susceptible to injury. While you ski, you’re likely to feel an increase in breathing and heart rate. This is the cardiovascular aspect of the sport. The better cardiovascular shape you are in, the longer you can enjoy the snow without reaching fatigue. Fatigue is what leads to poor technique, loss of control, and risk of injury. Activities such as running, hiking, spinning and skipping are all great ways to increase cardiovascular endurance.
Finally, yet another component to becoming ski-ready is flexibility. Although this may not seem as important as the other factors, when you are flexible, your body is able to adapt more easily to sudden change. If, for instance, there is another skier that comes out of left field and is heading towards you, your body will be able to respond quickly but be less likely to succumb to injury as a result of the reaction. Combine power exercises, strength, endurance, balance, cardio and flexibility into your training program and you’ll be ready to hit the slopes and stay out longer, too.
Get yourself ready for the ski season by starting a training program now; your body will thank you!
Hayley (250-688-0024) and Kate (250-688-0221) are certified personal trainers with Fitness 4 Life. Visit their website at www.fitness4life.tv for current rates and specials.