1. Increase Fitness Levels
The better physical shape you’re in before your snow holiday the longer you’ll be able to last on the slopes and the more you will get out of it. Many people end up exhausted or injured early on in their trip as they’ve lived sedentary lives all year and have suddenly increased their activity levels on the mountains.
Only 20% of the skiers/boarders who hit the slopes every season have done any sort of physical preparation for their holiday! The remaining 80% unknowingly increase their risk of injury and may find that their reduced fitness levels affect their performance.
What can I do?
Improving your cardiovascular fitness (how optimally your heart and lungs work) can improve your stamina on the slopes. Choose something you enjoy – running, cycling or hiking, and aim to get that heart rate up regularly before you hit the slopes. Current guidelines recommend that healthy adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise every week.
Increasing the strength of your muscles, most notably your calves, quads, gluts and core and will have significant impact on your ski/board technique and your ability to navigate down the slopes. Check out the exercises below (as well as in our upcoming blogs) for ideas on the best exercises to do.
Place your back to the wall and walk your feet out
Slide down the wall until your knees come in line vertically with your ankles
Hold this position for 10 seconds and repeat x 5
Then push back up to standing
You should feel the muscles on the front of your thighs working.
Walk your feet out further from the wall so that you can slide down lower
Increase the length of time in position
Ensure that your knees don’t fall inwards or outwards, keep them in line with the middle of your foot.
Picture coming soon!
Stand on the edge of a step with your heels off the step
Hold onto something for support
Push all the way up onto your toes and hold for 5 seconds
Lower your heels slowly down past the edge of the step until you feel a stretch in your calf- hold for 5 seconds
Repeat 7 x 3 times
You should feel your calf muscles working
Increase the load of the calf by progressing from double leg to single leg
Assume a modified push-up position with your elbows bent 90 degrees and both forearms resting on the floor
Position your elbows directly underneath your shoulders
Look straight toward the floor
Tighten your core muscles and push up onto your forearms
Your body should form a perfectly straight line from the crown of your head to your heels
Hold for 10 seconds x 5
This exercise works your core muscles
Increase the time spent holding position
Challenge your balance. Skiing and boarding require a high level of balance and co-ordination. You can improve these skills with some simple home exercises as demonstrated below.
SINGLE LEG STAND
Position yourself somewhere with a support at reach
Stand on your right leg and bring your left leg up to hip level with your knee bent
Hold this position for 30 seconds
Close your eyes
Stand on a pillow to change your base of support
2. Deal with any existing injuries
Don’t leave any aches or niggles until the last minute. Get them seen to now so that you are fit and ready once your trip comes round.
If you are currently receiving treatment for an injury, or have recently had surgery, talk to your physiotherapist or health care provider to get their advice on whether or not it is safe for you to be heading to the slopes.
Here at Bonne Santé we carry out Biomechanical Assessments to look at imbalances and asymmetries that may be affecting your ski/board technique. We design individualised programmes to tackle these imbalances and help progress your skills to the next level.
3. Equipment and Lessons
There is evidence that poorly fitted equipment may increase the risk of injury on the slopes. Whether you hire equipment or use your own, ensure that it is set up correctly and that it is in a well-serviced condition. Check out our friends at Snowberry to get the best service and kit out there!
There is also evidence that taking ski/board lessons with the aim of increasing your ability and experience, as well as enhancing your knowledge of ski etiquette, could be associated with lower injury rates. Check out our friends at SkiBro for more information on the different classes that can be tailored to your own individual or group needs available in Val d’Isère and Tignes this season.
The purpose of this blog is to provide general information and educational material relating to exercise, physiotherapy, injury management and ‘wellness’ matters in general. Bonne Santé Alps has made every effort to provide you with correct, up-to-date information. In using this blog, you agree that information is provided 'as is, as available', without warranty and that you use the information at your own risk. We recommend that you seek advice from a fitness or healthcare professional if you require further advice relating to exercise or medical issues.
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