Skiing is a popular winter sport that is perfect for those of all ages and abilities; with many challenging ski slopes for the avid enthusiast alongside plenty of ski schools for the beginner. However if you're planning to spend six hours skiing per day during a week-long break, then it is important to remember that you need to prepare your body in advance to prevent potential injury. As if you are injured, the result may be that you are unable to ski for the remainder of your holiday.
Skiing itself is a sport that requires a lot of physical strength, so if you're hitting the gym it is essential that you know what kinds of exercises will work in your favour. Many regular gym-goers tend to use machine-based exercises such as leg presses, cycling machines and leg extensions. Whilst these exercises may be good for general fitness, they are not reaching all the core muscles you need for skiing. Focus on improving your leg and core strength, your agility and muscle endurance - these three things will help you to gain an overall better control of your body, tackle the challenging terrain better and allow you to ski for longer.
Check out our tips below that will help you make sure that you are exercising correctly. Remember, if you have a medical condition make sure you consult your doctor or physiotherapist first.
If you're a snowboarder these exercises will be very similar, however you will need to focus more on improving your core muscles. This is because snowboarders do not have anything to lean on, such as ski poles and are required to lean heavily when making turns.
When skiing, the main aspect is moving from side to side so it is essential that you try to copy these movements when training. The movements in your knees alone can vary from 90 degrees to straight, so it is essential that you train all the different ranges of movement in your knees and legs for optimum fitness. Try to keep up the exercise for at least 10 weeks before your holiday.
Warming up before you exercise helps to prevent injury - try running on the spot for 5-6 minutes to get the blood pumping. Do some gentle stretches (stay static, don't bounce!) and hold each one for around 10 seconds and then repeat on the other side. Your back and knees are most vulnerable when skiing so make sure you focus on these.
Cardio exercises are the best for skiers but focus on quality over quantity. If you are finding that the exercises you are doing are too hard, aim to decrease the amount of time or repetitions until you feel comfortable again and then slowly increase as you get fitter over time. Many individuals prefer to complete a certain amount of training, have a few moments rest and then continue again. If you are feeling uncomfortable or are in any pain, then stop.
Cooling down after exercise will help to stop muscles from aching the next day. Repeat the same stretches that you used for the warm up, but do not rush - your body may be tired from exercising.
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