How fit do you need to be to ski? Find out what to do to get your body ready for the slopes…
Choosing the right ski wear for your trip is great fun and part of the excitement of your first skiing holiday. But it doesnâ€™t matter how cool your ski jacket makes you look if you havenâ€™t prepared yourself for the many and varied exertions of what is a pretty tough sport for a beginner to get to grips with.
If your only ski-specific training has been to play a ski game on your Wii Fit Wobble Board, it might be an idea to add some simple exercises to your current workouts to get the most from that all-important time on the slopes.
Most people who go skiing for the first time feel both session-curtailing shaky leg burn and the effects of working their body hard at altitude. As well as sapping your time actually skiing, being dehydrated or over-tired can be dangerous.
Cardio exercise to build up stamina is what you need, and the best kind is stuff that you do while standing up (running, jogging, cross-training, step machines, team sports and so on). Aerobics improves your balance, always a bonus, and army-style circuit training classes are particularly beneficial as they work your legs, core and arms at the same time as your stamina, and they do it in intervals, which resembles the way youâ€™ll use your energy on the mountain â€“ anaerobically.
Strength training, for men at least, often focuses on the upper body, with the core a secondary consideration and the legs a distant third on the To Do list. However, this is backwards as far as skiing fitness is concerned. You need to incorporate quadricep (thigh) exercises, hamstring curls, and shin, calf and glute exercises into your training as well as a workout for your abdominals.
Make your training target the motions of skiing â€“ anything involving lunges and crouching squats, as well as jumps, burpies and squat thrusts will train the knees, along with the muscles youâ€™ll be using most. Core strength (sit ups, plank, pilates classes etc) will also improve your balance and flexibility.
Remember too that skiing places a range of specific rotational and three-dimensional loads and motions on your body that you wonâ€™t encounter in your office job. Ask a fitness instructor at your gym how to work with gym balls, kettle balls, stretch bands and other equipment to improve on the dynamic strength youâ€™ll need on your skiing holiday.
[box type=”important”]Stretching every evening or after youâ€™ve completed a workout will also improve flexibility over time, and work in your favour when skiing.[/box]
Good luck with your pre skiing fitness regime – and stay safe, cool and fit on the slopes!
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