For many of us a ski holiday is the perfect way to get away in the winter and do some physical exercise. The only problem is, due to the short days and cold nights, most of us have actually cut down on our level of exercise during the winter.
BEFORE YOU GO
Start early – Get yourself to the gym, pilates, aerobics at least 1 month before your holiday and work on your core abdominal muscles and leg strength.
Don’t just sit there – Squats, sit ups and cycling is good to target the right muscles needed for skiing.
It’s a balancing act – Balance is the single most important factor in skiing. Use a wobble board to improve balance and build up ankle muscles. For a thorough ankle work-out, rocking heel to toe is good for snowboarders and left to right is best for skiers.
Get it checked – Most skiers find turning one way easier than the other. Poor technique might not be the problem – muscle weakness and joint alignment could be. Visit one of our osteopaths to sort out any misalignments and improve performance.
Work those legs – You need to target the thigh muscles (quadriceps) so squat and stand up repetitively whilst making tea, brushing your teeth or in the adverts on TV. As you get more advanced do your squats on a bed or wobble board to improve your coordination and stability. One legged squats are next.
Challenge! – Think you’re an expert skier and well coordinated? I will believe you if you can do a one legged squats on your bed, with both eyes shut for more than one minute without falling over! – TRY IT!
Target the calves – Due to being on a heel or toe edge on your board, your key muscles are on the front and back of the calf. To train them walk up and down the corridor on your tip toes and then return only on your heels (ie lifting your toes off the floor). You’ll look strange but it really works.
Sit down, stand up – As you spend a lot of time sitting in the snow and getting up, your arms get a good work out and in particular your triceps muscles. Practise by placing your back to a table, resting your hand on the edge and dipping the body down and then pressing up.
ON THE SLOPES
Hot and Cold – Warm up before strenuous skiing. Start off gently rather than heading first for the black runs and round the day off with a stretch.
Take plenty of breaks – Overexertion will ruin your holiday – moderate the length of skiing time and listen to your body. Pain is a warning sign, don’t ignore it.
Liquid lunch – Drink plenty of water and isotonic drinks to avoid dehydration and stay clear of alcohol, tea and coffee. Drink plenty with breakfast.
Put the boot in – No matter how many lessons, skiers won’t improve without the right boots and this is where most skiers put their first foot wrong. Skiers often choose on comfort alone – don’t make this mistake. Get a moulded footbed (called Orthotics) from the ski shop first as this improves fit, comfort and ski control. Opt for a shop with a wide range of boots so you are spoilt for choice (Freeride in Meribel, Precision Ski in Val d’Isere/Les Arcs, Footworks in Chamonix).
Carry on – Always be careful when carrying skis/boards. Leave them standing upright so you don’t have to bend to pick them up. Carry them over your shoulder, swapping shoulders regularly.
Ice is nice – With an acute injury, use ice rather than heat.
Tread carefully – A great deal of people are injured by slipping on ice at the ski resort, not just on the slopes. Wear shoes with a deep treaded sole and use strap-on studs for ski boots to help keep you upright. Good for snow in Exeter as well!
Get Protected – Buy a helmet and wrist guards before you have a fall.
WHEN YOU GET HOME
Should you be unfortunate enough to be injured during your holiday, all our osteopaths are experienced in treating sports injuries and post operative rehabilitation so don’t put off getting treatment on your return.