So winter has arrived and before we know it the ski hills will be open for another season. For all the people out there who ski or snowboard this is always an exciting time of the year.
And for all of you who are planning on getting up to the slopes this year it is important that your body is ready to handle the demands of skiing/snowboarding.
The better shape you are in before you hit the hills, the less likely you are to sustain an injury. Getting into shape before your sport rather than trying to use your sport to get into shape is always recommended to avoid injury.
So,what can you do to limit your chance of being taken off the slopes in a sled?
We know that both skiing and snowboarding put very high demands on our leg muscles as well as on our core muscles. These two sports require a unique combination of strength, agility, balance, coordination and endurance.
Having strong leg and core muscles will allow you to better control your skis/board and will enable you to adapt to different terrain, keeping you in control as you fly down your favourite runs.
It’s also true that the better cardiovascular shape you are in the less likely you are to fatigue towards the end of the day (and we all know how injuries tend to happen on the ‘last run of the day’).
So, what kinds of exercise should you be doing to get ready for this ski season? Here are some of basic but effective exercise ideas: Wall squats (leaning against wall with feet out in front and bending knees to 90 degrees and holding for at least 10 seconds, try doing 3 sets of 10 repetitions), single leg squats (while standing on one leg squat down making sure to sit back-bending at your hip so that your knee does not go beyond your toes), lunges (think of going up/down not forward) and bridging (while lying on back with knees bent to 90 degrees, lift hips up so that there is a straight line from your shoulders to your knees, focus on using your glute muscles).
As well, don’t forget to take part in some form of cardiovascular exercise (biking, running, swimming) and spend time balancing on one foot (five minutes on each side every day) to help improve your balance.
Stretching our your hip and leg muscles on a daily basis to keep yourself limber is also an important part of injury prevention.
Remember that these are just basic exercise guidelines. Unless you are very experienced with working out it is always a good idea to seek professional guidance from your physiotherapist or a certified personal trainer.
It’s also a good idea to start your season gradually so that you give your body a chance to adapt to the demands of the sport. Gradually increasing the number and difficulty of runs in a day over the first month will help your leg and core muscles get used to these demands.
Oh, and if you know you are getting tired at the end of the day, don’t head out for ‘one last run’!
Remember, skiing and snowboarding are physically demanding sports and we need to prepare our bodies properly to limit chance of injury.
Following these tips will help to keep you up on the slopes and out of our clinic.