5 Easy ways to get you in shape for your ski holiday
The ski season may be in full swing, but is your body ready for that ski holiday you booked? Most of us lead far too sedentary a lifestyle to not need to put some work in before that impending ski holiday we so enthusiastically booked many months prior – and guys beware – the best high tech ski gear won’t help you on the piste if you haven’t got the cardiovascular fitness or the strength to stand on two planks for 6 hours! So if you don’t want to collapse in a heap at the end of your first ski day, read on..
With a few ski exercises you can get those muscles ready for the slopes with minimum effort – and you might actually enjoy doing it. Here are 5 easy tips and tricks that will help you get fit for the ski season, so that you can master any snow condition in style, even slush!
Ski exercise 1 – cycling and running
It’s super-important to improve your general fitness and endurance in preparation for your single parent ski holiday. Cycling and running are ideal cardiovascular ski exercises. If you haven’t got the time or just cannot be bothered to go out in the cold and rain for a run or a cycle ride, then there are plenty of other ski exercises you can try: Get on a stepper or running machine in your gym for 30 minutes. Or, if you don’t have a gym membership, walk up and down the stairs in your house – the effect will be the same.
Ski exercise 2 – stretching
If you thought stretching wasn’t an exercise, you were wrong: Stretching is a form of physical exercise in which specific muscles or tendons are flexed to increase your muscles’ elasticity and achieve improved range of motion. It also helps you warm up, thus helping to prevent injury. And as a nice side effect, it achieves muscle tone.
As you probably guessed by now, it is very important to stretch your muscles before your first day on the slopes to avoid cramps and straining after a long day on the piste exercising muscles you had forgotten existed! Focus particularly on your hamstrings and hip flexors. Yoga and Pilates are the perfect exercise for this. If these aren’t your thing or you don’t have the time, google some simple stretching exercises to do at home or even on the piste. You will be surprised how many skiers and snowboarders perform simple ski exercises and stretches before they set off for their first run.
Ski exercise 3 – strengthen your leg muscles
This may sound like a no-brainer, but strong leg and hip muscles really are crucial. Skiing might be an all-body work out but your legs are where the action is so ski exercises to strengthen your quads and hamstrings are important! Having frequent stops to rest your burning thighs will be painful, not to mention thoroughly annoying, not just for you but also your fellow skiers or snowboarders waiting for you at the bottom of the slope.
Strong leg muscles will also prevent injury whilst skiing: When you ski or snowboard and your legs feel like jelly, all your weight will be carried by your knees, which will strain them and lead to knee injuries. Simple squats at home are a great form of ski exercise and will get your legs prepared nicely. As your legs get stronger, add weights to increase your workout. If you go to the gym, you will find plenty of machines, such as the leg press machine, which work several muscle groups at once.
Ski exercise 4 – remember those core muscles!
You don’t necessarily think of your upper body when it comes to ski exercises, but strong abdominal muscles are really important for skiing to avoid straining your back. A strong upper body helps you guide your skis better and takes the strain of your knees. Simple crunch ups at home on the floor will work wonders for your core muscles, so go exercise: 50 crunch ups per day and you’re all set!
Ski exercise 5 – improve your balance
Finally, you need good balance to guide your skis well and to ensure you don’t crash into the next skier at the smallest obstacle. And believe it or not, this can easily be achieved by doing the following: just standing on one leg while brushing your teeth. There really is no excuse not to do this ski exercise ;)!
Dealing with those sore muscles
Don’t stop exercising! Muscle pain within 24 to 48 hours of exercise is completely normal and caused by small microscopic tears in muscle fibres. The resulting muscle pain is just part of getting fit and shows that your muscles are adapting to your new fitness regime. There are many ways to prevent or reduce muscle pain, such as keeping hydrated, eating sufficient protein, light stretching, using a foam roller and even taking herbs for sore muscles.
Experts say that you should start your fitness training one to two months before your ski holiday and exercise two to three times per week to achieve the best results. From personal experience, I would say start a a few weeks earlier. If you do not have the time to start your ski exercises as early as that, don’t lose hope. Every little helps! Every hour of exercise you put in now will pay off on the slopes and will increase your enjoyment of your ski holiday. So whether you are planning a solo ski holiday or a ski holiday with kids, get started asap. It’s never too late!