Preparing your body for a ski holiday

Preparing your body for a ski holiday

Six super ski exercises to get your body into shape and help you get the best out of your time on the slopes

For experienced skiers

Hitting the slopes this year? If it’s the first time in a while, you’ll probably be a little rusty, especially as you’ll need to use some unfamiliar muscles. So, how do you prepare for a skiing holiday and what are the best stretches to help avoid injuries when on the slopes?

Firstly there is no substitute for actually skiing. Throughout the UK there are many indoor and dry slopes where you can regain your ski legs, such as Snowzone in Milton Keynes and Snow Factor in Glasgow. For those of you who already know how to ski it would be an excellent idea to regain your ski legs before you get to the mountains. So that upon arrival you can head straight up the mountain.

For beginners skiers

For beginners, getting onto snow in one of the indoor areas prior to your trip can be the difference between a frustrating holiday and the start of a promising snow sports career. Taking a lesson or two at a snow dome will give you the knowledge and understanding you need to explore the beautiful alpine resorts to their full potential.

Skiing uses a unique set of muscles and it definitely pays to be prepared for this. Here are six exercises to boost your ski fitness for your holiday.

Cardio, strength and flexibility exercises

A person of average weight would burn around 476 calories skiing, so working in a little cardio before your trip isn’t a bad idea if you want to stay on the slopes for longer.

Jog, swim or run

Whichever is your preference, work on your cardio before you go on your skiing holiday, so your fitness is up to scratch during your time on the slopes.

Skiing requires balance and core strength, especially when you’re carving down mogul-strewn slopes, your skis bumping this way and that. Pilates or yoga exercises are a great place to start, but if you’re unfamiliar with them then focus on core strength exercises to improve your ski fitness.

Leg lifts

You can do this exercise flat on your back, so you avoid spending too much time in the same position on your holiday.
1. Lie with your back flat on the floor
2. Then, keeping your left leg straight as possible, lift it as high as you can go.
3. Count to 15 and then lower it slowly.
Do the same with your right leg and then repeat.

Spider plank crunch

For this crunch, get in the plank position, on your hands (or elbows) and feet with your legs and back straight.
1. Lift your right knee up towards your shoulder, as far as it will go, and place back down.
2. Then, do the same with your right.
3. Do each leg ten times.

Squats

You should also strengthen your legs and prepare your knees for the skiing position. Squats can help:
1. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart
2. Then squat, keeping your back straight and looking ahead. Important to ensure your knees are positioned above your ankles. If you can’t see your feet it means your knees are too far forward and you’re in the wrong position.
3. Do this about 20 times, or as many times as you feel able.

To keep your skis straight as you handle the corners, you’ll need flexibility as well as strength. Again, both yoga and Pilates are great for improving your flexibility. Here are two simple exercises you could try.

Touch your toes

The most basic stretch out there, but for a bit extra, tuck your chin into your chest before you start stretching down – just make sure you take it slowly.

Spine twist

  1. Sit on the floor with your back and your legs out straight.
  2. Cross your right leg over your left and bring your knee up to your chest, so that your right foot is on the floor beside your left knee.
  3. Twist your upper body to the right, using your left arm to push against your raised leg.
  4. Hold for ten seconds
    Then do the same with your left leg.

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