Are you ready for a season of skiing and snowboarding?
It’s raining, it’s windy, it looks like the summer (if you could call it summer) is over and we’re heading full tilt into winter. But this doesn’t mean us outdoorsy folk do not have something to look forward to. I’m not thinking about the forthcoming skiing and snowboarding season. Wooohoo!
For the past decade or so I’ve been a keen snowboarder and every year I wonder whether to switch to skis. I’ve never been a skier so it might make a change, and since Little Miss and the G-Force ski it would make group outings a little easier. (Skiers and snowboarders struggle to ski neatly together!) But who knows how I’ll feel when the snow hits the slopes of Scotland and the rest of Europe.
In any case, whatever your choice of skiing or snowboarding now is the time to think about getting in good shape for your time on the pistes – and making sure your ski kit (check out my next blog in this Get ready for Skiing Series) is in good working order.
Get fit for skiing and snowboarding
Of course, you could head off to the slopes (whether a weekend in Scotland’s five ski resorts or a week further afield) and just go for it. The first day you’ll probably be just fine. But you’ll pay the price that evening and the next day because of sore legs, arms, back, neck and head! Skiing and snowboarding utilises muscles that may not have been used since the ski season before.
On average, in just one day of skiing, you’ll spend at least two or three hours in total descending the pistes. Some of your day will be spent ascending in cable cars and chairlifts, but you may also face hundreds of metres of climbing on muscle-zapping button tows.
Added to this, you’ll be outside and at high altitude for the entire day, which is physically and mentally exhausting.
The muscles that you use for skiing – the thighs, calves, back, abs, upper torso, shoulders and arms – will rarely have such a thorough workout.
So getting fit for skiing or snowboarding before you go off on holiday will help to improve your stamina, avoid injury, have more fun and make the most of your pricey holiday.
Start on these exercises at least a couple of months before your skiing trip.
Cardio fitness: The best way to get fit for skiing is to ski. While for snowboarding, it’s snowboarding! Head along to a local dry ski slope or an indoor snow slope if you live near one.
For skiers, you could also give the similar sport of Nordic walking a go
Or you could get in cardio shape by regularly working out your heart and muscles. Try walking or running and aim to take in a few hills while out training. Push up the hills, so you are using your leg and butt muscles more than usual. Do this for at least two hours in total each week.
Strengthening: Spend 20 minutes twice a week doing:
10 to 20 single leg squat reps.
10 to 15 step-ups, add a weight in each hand. Do these on a step-machine at the gym or up and down stairs.
10 to 15 front lunges, each leg.
10 to 15 side lunges, each leg.
20 to 30 ab curls (try to do more of these if your are a novice snowboarder because you’ll be using your abs a whole lot more than you could ever imagine).
10 back raises. Lie flat on your front and lift your straight legs and shoulders from the ground at the same time. Hold for one second and gently drop back down.
15 to 20 shoulder pulls. Use a weight machine for these.
Flexibility: An hour of yoga each week will do wonders for your joints, muscles and flexibility. The more supple you are, the better you’ll cope with the bumps and twists of skiing and snowboarding.
Next blog: The essential – and not so essential but it’s very nice – kit for skiing and snowboarding.