If you’re like many winter-buffs, you are chompin’ at the bit to get on the slopes and indulge in some early-season powder. Your snowboard and skis are waxed and tuned, you’ve got some new boots to try out, you’ve pulled out your gloves, goggles, and other gear from their summer hibernation spot, and you are READY with a capital R.
What about you and your body? Are your muscles and joints equally primed for a season of moguls and fast downhills? It’s a fair question, considering the fact that researchers at Johns Hopkins University estimated that 600,000 people nationwide are injured each year as a result of skiing or snowboarding. Not only that, a 2014 article posted on premax.co reported that a full 75% of skier and snowboarder injuries occur from falling down or due to loss of control when attempting a jump. This, compared to the 3%-8% who get injured as a result of colliding with another skier.
These sobering stats highlight the importance of being in shape when hitting the slopes, as the great majority of reported slope injuries could be prevented if the rider or skier were properly conditioned.
So to keep from being the one that everyone talks about at work the next week (“OMG, did you hear that ________ completely biffed it on a mogul last weekend?”) you’d better get busy getting in mountain-ready shape. It’s either this, or be content spending your Saturdays watching everyone’s stuff in the ski lodge, limb in a brace, while your pals have a blast in the snow without you.
With winter sports, it’s all about the legs and hips. Getting and keeping your lower body strong will do wonders to help stabilize your joints. Need some exercise ideas?
- You can’t go wrong with lunges, of course. Grab a couple hand weights and do a few sets of slow forward and side lunges, holding each lung for 5-10 seconds. Increase your weight as you get stronger.
- Squat jumps are a two-for-one exercise. Not only do these strengthen your hamstrings, calves, and quads, but they help you hone your muscle explosiveness, which you’ll need for fast runs and quick turns. Also try to throw some lateral box jumps into your training routine. Ask your trainer at the studio to help you get set up for these.
- The treadmill can help, too. Start at a pretty slow pace – around 2-3 miles per hour. Raise the incline as high as it will go, and then, very (very!) carefully, turn around so that you’re walking backwards. Now, with each backwards step, drop to a 90-degree squat. This exercise, though it looks a little odd to the 10-miler plodding along beside you, gets your body used to the downhill slant, while toning your entire leg and hip area.
- Try some band walks for your hips and outer thighs. Place a resistance band around your ankles, stretch it until it’s taught, and then take slow, steady steps sideways. Try 2-3 sets of 10 steps for each leg.
And, if you’re after a great all-over body conditioning, look no further than your FIT36 studio. Our passion is training you from head to toe for whatever life throws your way, no matter the season.