Think white, think cold, think snow, think fun and fitness. Skiing and Snowboarding time is here.
Becoming fitter before you hit the snowfields will insure that you will have a much better snow holiday, less chance of injury and therefore more fun.
The first step in the preparation is to begin your ski specific fitness program at least 6 weeks before you go.
Skiing makes a person very imbalanced as the back and legs become very strong but the chest muscles become weak and the shoulders become rounded, so if you train at strengthening the weaker muscles then they won’t become injured while skiing.
Pilates and general aerobic conditioning at a moderate intensity is a great way to start.
Pilates is important as it builds up core strength and focuses on balance, flowing movement, centering, alignment, mind/body focus, breathing and posture which all helps the participant to focus and understand the way their body moves. Skiing entails a great degree of lateral side to side hip movement to use both the outside and inside of the ski and snow boarders use a lot of forward and back hip movement and rotational movement to change direction of the board. Building core abdominal strength with specific Pilates exercises will improve balance, control and agility.
Pilates Exercises for Ski Conditioning;
- Spinal Roll Downs and Thoracic Twists are excellent for strengthening and flexibility of the spine and a great warm up for the spine.
- Switching core muscles on from your pelvic floor to navel, using imagery such as a wide, tight belt, zipping up a tight pair of jeans all the way to the waist line while drawing in your abdominal muscles.
- Keeping abdominals switched on using the breath. Breath in imagine the belt tightening to number 5 hole of a 10 hole belt and then try and do your workout at that strength, breathing in and out tightening and loosening the muscles and being aware of engaging the deep abdominals.
- The other very important requirement is strong quadriceps or thigh muscles. Placing your back against a wall and sliding down until you are in a semi sitting position and hold for 10 seconds breathing in and then contract on the breath out while keeping your core muscles switched on. You may like to start using your own bodyweight to start and then add weighted dumbbells. The quadriceps are the largest muscles in the body and will aid you with strength and endurance that skiing and snow boarding requires.
There are very many Pilates exercises to develop core strength, body conditioning, agility, alignment etc and enrolling in a Body and Blance Pilates class or a One on One consultaion with Jill Healy-Quintard of Body and Balance would be of great benefit to your ski/snowboarding holiday.
Commencing a fast paced walking program will be of benefit for your aerobic conditioning. Maintaining a heart rate of 120-130 beats per minute while walking for 30 minutes continuously is a good start.
Add Side Lunges with hand weights to your outdoor walking training to help strengthen the hip and leg muscles and the Walking Lunge will optimize hip flexor stretch and quad strength.
Jumping on your bike for some uphill rides will not only help you aerobically but will also strengthen the important quad muscles that you will require for skiing and snowboarding and if you are all ready a jogger keep it up not only for the aerobic fitness but for the endurance for those long days up and down the snow fields.
Always check with your medical Practitioner before beginning any exercise program.
Common Injuries of Skiers and Snow Boarders
Falls causing knee, shoulder, leg and wrist breaks and general sprains.
Compression injuries to the spine, ribs, hands and feet.
Head, neck and internal organs due to collisions with other skiers or objects such as trees.
Injuries often occur on the first day of skiing/ snow boarding and at the end of the day as fatigue is a significant factor of injuries.
Novice snowboarders make up to 50% of snowboarding injuries and males under 25 account for the highest number of winter sports injuries, according to Physiotherapist Mark Langley.
The wearing of a safety helmet will reduce the severity of head injuries by up to 50%.
Wrist guards will help reduce pressure on the wrist in a fall.
It is very important to not mix skiing and alcohol. This factor could be one of the reasons that more hospital admissions occur after lunch.
Always warm up, take a break when you are fatigued and continue your fitness program until you have put away your skis or snowboard for the season.
Vitamin and Mineral Supplements
When you begin to feel tired and sore after along day skiing a warm bath or massage is recommended. Blackmores Bio magnesium is a great supplement to take to help relieve tired muscles aches and pains.
, Blackmores Director of education said, “Energy supplements are always good, so I would suggest Blackmores COQ10 and Energy Formula, before and during your snow holiday.” Pam went on to say, “It is always good to support the immune system as well, so I’d suggest Blackmores ImmunoDefence before, during and after skiing as prevention.”
Give Yourself a Colour Boost on the Snow Fields
According to Colour Psychologists wearing certain colours can make you feel better emotionally.
: try wearing red if you are feeling run down and fatigued and you want to remain strong and focused.
; has an energising and balancing effect.
; wearing orange helps focus and feeling more competent.
is the colour of perception and will help you come to terms with any anxieties. Excellent if you are feeling nervous.
is calming and relaxing after your fast paced day in the snow. It promotes serenity and helps with tension, headaches and lower back pain.
Regardless of what you wear or where you are going for your snow vacation start conditioning your body at least 6 weeks before, take supplements as needed, check your equipment is safe, that you have adequate clothing to keep you warm, warm up the body before you start and if you feel fatigued stop and rest. All this will assure a safe and happy holiday.
Thank you for reading.