Skiing and snowboarding are great great fitness activities, but going from zero to “snow bunny” in one day can wreak havoc on your body. To get ready to hit the slopes, you’ll need to take into account the strength needed to propel yourself downhill; the flexibility required to make all the right moves and to recover from falls; and the endurance that’s essential for the all that downhill maneuvering and uphill trudging.
Classic stretches like toe-touching, torso-twisting and sky-reaching arm and toe-touching can go a long way toward preparing you for ski season, as well as minimizing injuries from falls or pulled muscles.
To really add allover flexibility, incorporate other moves into the stretching mix. Leg swings increased hip mobility, while a range of arm swings loosen up the shoulders, back and arms. Knee-flexing moves will additionally help protect you from the severe twisting motions required by skiing and snowboarding.
If you’re already working hard at getting toned by following a regular resistance-training routine, chances are you’ll be well-prepared for the strength needed in skiing, snowboarding or other wintertime sports. But if you’re not too sure about the how “buff” your thigh and ab muscles are, working some strength moves into your daily routine is a good idea.
The good news? You don’t have to add any strange, ski-specific moves to strengthen the muscles you’ll need for skiing. Lunges, squats and wall sits are great at building up quads and hamstrings. Ab crunches, especially with torso twisting built in, will also be useful. Your upper arms and chest are crucial for positioning those ski poles, so don’t neglect your pushups and free-weight training.
To make sure you’re not constantly out of breath — or getting sore muscles from lack of adequate oxygenation — build up your endurance levels in the weeks preceding your big ski trip. Just 20 minutes of aerobic activity, performed at least three times a week, can go a long way toward getting you prepped on the cardio front.
Aerobic activity, of course, is the lynchpin of any fitness program, so it may already be in your routine. If not, now is the time to work running, swimming or jumping rope into your routine. Or hop on an elliptical trainer, which mimics skiing.