Tired of having jelly legs mid day? Nervous you won’t be able to keep up for your upcoming ski trip? Want to do those features and not feel like you're in the backseat? Well, why not get moving?
Similar to any sport, the potential for injury in skiing is huge if your body isn’t primed for stress. Good fitness and a proper warm up prepare your muscles for the external demands of skiing or snowboarding. You’ll be less likely to strain muscles and be better prepared to handle surprises on the slopes, like ice, chunder and errant snowplowers making erratic sweeps across the run.
Whether you are looking for a mid season work out, or want to maintain fitness for your weekend warrior ski season, try these five moves throughout the day when you’re off the slopes to keep those legs in shape for the upcoming season. As in any workout, before you do these exercises, ensure the following:
- You are wearing proper footwear or bare feet.
- Your environment is safe and you are able to support yourself if necessary.
- You are adequately fed and hydrated throughout the day.
Wall sits while brushing your teeth
Morning noon and night, when you’re brushing those pearly whites do a wall sit and hold it for the 2 minutes duration of your brush. A good wall sit has a flat back on the wall, hips, knees, and ankles at a 90-degree bend. Feel the burn while cleaning your teeth - killing two birds with one stone.
When nature calls and you get up from your desk to use the restroom, stop and do 20 air squats. To activate your quads and glutes, stand feet shoulder width apart, or a little wider and squat down as if sitting in an invisible chair. Again, pay attention to your knees and ensure they’re not farther forward than your toes and make sure that low back isn’t arching too much. Then stand up straight without locking your knees, and repeat. Do the first ten slow, then the last ten as fast as you can.
Single leg dishes
Let’s face it, dishes aren’t the most exciting chore - especially after a delicious meal. It’s time to spice it up and build up your balance and leg muscles! While doing a dish, stand on one leg, bend your other leg at the knee and keep it back. After you have finished cleaning and rinsing the dish, do a little single leg squat and ensure your knee stays over your 2nd toe and doesn’t collapse inward. Now switch legs and move on to the next dish. Number of dishes dictates intensity of workout.
Commercial break planks (front & side)
Break up your couch time and favourite shows with the classic core builder - planks. Start with a front plank on your elbows under shoulders and on your toes with legs close together. Watch that low back and keep it flat. Hold the front plank for 1 and, then switch to one side for the next, switch to the other side for the 3rd ad and back to front for the rest. Remember to keep breathing, holding your breath during a plank won’t help you at all!
When it’s time to clean those floors, bring in the burn and incorporate lunges as you move across the floor. Take one large step forward and drop slowly into a lunge. Pay close attention to your knees and ensure they’re not going beyond your toes and your back knee doesn’t touch the ground. Put one hand behind your head for an extra stretch and difficulty. Size of room dictates intensity.
Five extra tips for injury prevention to make your ski season the best one yet:
- Protect your ankles and feet with a proper boot fit. A boot that fits properly will leave you less vulnerable to ankle sprains and toe bashing.
- Skiers, ensure your bindings are set to the right DIN, or tightness. Having your bindings set to the appropriate DIN setting means they’ll release when you want them to (during a fall) and stay locked when you need them to (while skiing).
- Wearing a helmet is crucial. A helmet will work to absorb impact to the head. If you do fall and hit your head, check in with ski patrol, as concussion symptoms might not be obvious to you.
- While instinct often tells us to break falls with outstretched hands, this is bad news for your wrists and shoulders. Focus instead on tucking and rolling out of the fall, keeping your head, neck or hands from being the first point of contact with the ground.
- Familiarize yourself with the rules of the snow and use your local ski patrol as a resource. Be sure to know who has the right of way in all on-slope scenarios.
Emilie Whittemore is a registered physiotherapist whose integrated practice on Vancouver's North Shore is a reflection of her belief in leading an active and well-rounded lifestyle. She enjoys working with an active demographic and emphasizes strategies for injury prevention on a client by client basis. In her spare time she can be found exploring BC’s mountains on skis or on foot, surfing the swells of the west coast, or biking on the North Shore’s many trails.