Getting regular exercise is key to maintaining health and strength.
While we recommend skiing and snowboarding on their own merits (joy! fun! exhilaration!), snowsports are also a great way to stay in shape and get outdoors during the winter.
Of course, as with any sport, you’ll have more fun if you get in shape for ski season — before winter comes. Some basic conditioning can make a big difference in how much fun you’ll have and how quickly you’ll improve.
Ready to start? Here are some “get ready” tips that can help you.
Focus on Your Core
As with any sport, a toned core will help your overall strength, balance and endurance.
Roughly speaking, your core is made up of the abdominal and back muscles between your chest and your upper thighs.
Many people think of crunches, but there are better exercises for skiing and snowboarding.
To get you started, try Abdominal Leg Reaches.
Lying flat on the ground, pull your knees up while keeping your lower back flat on the ground. Straighten your legs out to a 45 degree angle. Keep your stomach firm and stop when you can no longer keep your lower back flat. Pull your legs back in. Repeat 10 times.
For more challenge, keep your knees bent and rotate your legs from side to side while keeping your tummy tight and your back on the ground.
It’s A Lot About the Legs
No surprise, the stronger your legs, the more fun you’ll have skiing and snowboarding. To get started, focus on your quadriceps, the big strong muscles on the front of your upper legs.
Wall squats are an easy way to strengthen your quads. With your back flat against the wall, pretend you’re sitting on a chair. Hold this position for 30-60 seconds. Stand up. Shake out your legs. Repeat for a total of 2-5 times.
You can also try single leg wall squats, balancing on one leg while extending the other straight in front of you. Switch legs every 10 seconds for one minute.
If you have an exercise ball, try wall squats with the ball behind your back. Balancing against the ball adds an element of challenge and works your core!
Alternatively, get out on your bike.
Plus, you’ll build cardiovascular endurance.
After any workout, take time to stretch. It’s your reward.
Try this basic quad stretch: Stand tall and pull one foot up behind your bottom. Keep your knees together and hold this stretch for 10-30 seconds. Repeat with the other leg.
For hamstrings, lie on the ground with your legs up the wall. Keep your bottom close to the wall to increase the stretch. Grab a book while you do this and enjoy five minutes of reading, along with five minutes of stretching.
Now that’s a great way to multi-task!
These exercises will get you started, but you may find that you want more.
Here’s a 15 minute workout that builds on these exercise, adding some balance work and additional core and leg work.
Also, many gyms offer fall ski and snowboarding conditioning classes. Look for them!
Finally, if you’ve got kids at home, make pre-season conditioning a family affair. Working out together doesn’t have to be tedious or lonely. It should be fun!
Thanks to Bryan Whitesides, a physical therapist with Rocky Mountain Orthpaedic Associates for his conditioning suggestions.
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