If you’re planning on skiing the slopes this winter, it’s a good idea to prepare your body for the challenge of snow ploughing, carving and mogul runs. After all, you want to make sure you will still have the energy to take on the biggest exercise of all – making the most of the après ski fun.
Sue Gertzel is a leading sports physiotherapist in Melbourne who runs “get fit to ski” programs. She says eight weeks before you hit the slopes is an ideal time to get your preparation underway for snow sports and emphasises the importance of taking into account any previous injuries. “It’s important to find a program where physiotherapists instruct the classes, so that exercises can be modified for your condition.”
Here are some basic tips to get you underway:
- Get fit before you go.
You won’t have time to get your fitness up to speed once you get there. Training should include specific exercises for snow sports. Other activities such as stair climbing, running, in-line skating or cycling can be incorporated into your exercise program. Aim for three to four sessions per week.
- Reduce the risk of injury.
Strengthening of the muscles specific to snow sports (like thighs, bottoms, stomach and triceps) will reduce the risk of injury and increase endurance.
- Look after your back.
A good stretch is to arch your back while standing with hands on hips. If you’re travelling distances to reach the mountain, break your journey every two hours and stretch. When lifting luggage, always brace your lower abdominal muscles to support your back.
- Warm up.
Before putting on your gear and equipment, warm up by stretching the thigh, calf and arm muscles. Start each day on the slopes with some easy runs to loosen up, and stretch after a rest break.
- Fatigue is a major cause of injury from lack of control.
Stop skiing if you feel tired, and rest. Simple as that.
- RICE for injury.
If you are unlucky enough to sustain an injury, immediately R est I ce C ompress and E levate the affected part and seek help at the on-mountain medical centre.
Australian Physiotherapy Associations offers the ability to search online for a physiotherapist in your local area
Get fit to ski is a program that enables you to strengthen the specific muscles for skiing or snowboarding.