People invest so much time in finding great accommodation and speciality gear, but don’t always take the time to properly prepare their body for the rigours of skiing.
Injuries are common when you ski, mainly because we find ourselves using muscles that are rarely used in other sports or exercise. Many of us will only ski once or maybe twice a year and, as a result, we don’t build enough consistency to keep our bodies conditioned for it.
Most injuries from skiing and snowboarding are in the knee or in the upper body, but the increased stress on the lower back from twisting and changing direction can also result in, or worsen, lower back problems.
Furthermore, weak hip muscles or muscular imbalances around your hips can lead to increased stress on your lower back. The same is true if you have a weak core or haven’t trained this area for some time. As a result, you are less likely to have stability in your spine as you ski and your back will be at a greater risk of injury.
So what can you do?
Whether you are a beginner or an expert, here are a few things you can do in advance to ensure your skiing holiday is a more enjoyable and safer experience:
- Improve your flexibility
Make sure you warm up and stretch properly each morning and maintain this routine while you are on holiday. Some good stretches to start with include: hamstring and quad stretches, calf stretches and lower back stretches.
You can also try having a warm bath each night to relax your muscles, particularly your legs, after your stretches.
- Build your fitness
You don’t need to dive straight into intense training. Start by doing some simple cardio work and build it up slowly in the weeks leading up to your holiday. A simple way to start building your cardio is to take the stairs, rather than the lift, wherever you can. The benefits of this can really be remarkable.
Also, if you have pre-existing injuries – look after them! For instance, wear a knee brace if you require such support.
- Strengthen your core muscles
You need to incorporate strengthening exercises into your routine, and your balance will be greatly enhanced by strengthening the hip and core muscles. You will also need to strengthen your bottom and thigh muscles, as this will help reduce the risk of certain knee injuries. Balancing exercises, such as standing on one leg, will help increase stability in your knees and ankles.
- Speak with an osteopath
This is especially true if you are a beginner. It is much safer to get your posture and technique right from day one, rather than trying to correct it further down the line when you’ve developed bad habits and could quite possibly hurt yourself.
If you have any back pain, knee twinges or shoulder pains, then don't ignore them. Visit an osteopath prior to your trip to make sure you are in optimum condition.
All of these tips are a good starting point before you head off on your adventure. Start as soon as possible, as building strength, flexibility and endurance will keep your body strong and help you avoid injuries, while making your skiing much more fun and enjoyable.
Remember, it is important with any strengthening exercises to make sure you are doing them correctly, so as always, please don’t hesitate to get in touch on 01722 512043 to book a consultation and benefit from some expert, tailored advice.
Thanks for reading and have fun!