Are you ski fit?
The countdown has begun, the glaciers will soon be open, and it is less than 150 days to the start of Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics. Now is the time to get yourself ‘ski fit’ and ready for the snow.
Risk of injury whilst on the slopes is greatly reduced if you prepare your body in the months leading up to your holiday. Being in good condition improves your ability to respond to the lumps, bumps and changing terrain you encounter on the slopes. It will also allow you to ski or board for longer before fatigue sets in.
In order to be ‘ski fit’, you should start doing regular exercise at least 2 months prior to your holiday. Your fitness routine should focus on cardio-vascular fitness, lower limb power and core stability. Below are some key exercises that will help you become ‘ski fit’:
1 Knee Bends/Squats:
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and your toes pointing slightly outwards. Slowly bend at the ankle, knee and hip and lower yourself until your thighs are at a 45 degree angle to the floor. Keep your back straight and your shoulders over your toes. Slowly rise up until you are back in the standing start position. You should be balanced and steady throughout this movement. Repeat the movement 8 to 12 times. This exercise works the quadriceps, hamstrings, calves and lower back. To make this exercise harder, squat down as low as you can go whilst remaining balanced, and ensuring your knees do not go in front of your toes.
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Step forward 2 to 3 feet with your right foot. The heel of your left foot will be off the ground. From this starting position, slowly lower your body so your left knee drops towards the floor. Once you are as low as feels comfortable, slowly push up and return to the starting position. Keep your back straight and eyes straight ahead while doing this exercise. Repeat the movement 8 to 12 times per leg. Switch legs and repeat the entire exercise. This exercise strengthens the quadriceps, hamstrings and gluteal muscles. To make the exercise harder, you can hold dumbbells in both hands.
3 Hamstring curls with Swiss Ball:
Lay on your back on the floor with your feet on a Swiss ball. Tense your core muscles to maintain good posture and to not strain the back, raise your bum from the floor (A). Pull the legs into the bum by rolling the ball while keeping the hips raised (B). And straighten again. Repeat 8 to 12 times. To make the exercise more difficult, you can raise your arms so they are above the head. This means less stability making the exercise harder.
4 Side plank:
Start in a plank position, keeping the body straight. Turn your body to the side so you are on one arm, facing sideways in side plank. Hold this position for 30 seconds. Return to centre plank and repeat on the other side. Increase the length of time to make it more difficult.
So no more excuses, let this be the year that you are ‘ski fit’ and ready to tackle the slopes from day one! Keep an eye on our blog for further tips to reduce your risk of injury on the mountains this winter.
For further advice on preparation for the winter season, or if you have any concerns about previous injuries, please contact the Didsbury G4 Physiotherapy Clinic (Manchester) to arrange an appointment with a member of our physiotherapy team.