Ski season is almost upon us, and before long, you’ll be spending your holidays with your family in your favorite resort. However, are your legs ready for a grueling, 8-hour ski day? Do you think you can hold out until the end of the day without sore muscles?
Skiing is a physically demanding activity. To make the most of the ski season, you have to condition your body, increasing not only strength but also endurance. A strong, agile body will help you get the most out of your stay at the resort.
Here are a few ways to prepare yourself for ski season.
Train for Skiing
The main reason you have to train is so that you can make the most of a ski day. Because your body is well-conditioned, you can last for hours in the snow.
Moreover, training helps reduce the risk of injuries. People usually sustain injuries because their muscles, tendons, and ligaments are stretched beyond their normal range of movement or work more than they’re used to. Training helps increase their flexibility and gets them used to hard work on the snow.
These are the common injuries you may prevent if you train your body properly:
- Medial collateral ligament (MCL) rupture or sprain
- Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) rupture or sprain
- Shoulder sprains
Pay special attention to your knees. Figures show that knee injuries account for around one in four skiing injuries.
When choosing or structuring your training program, focus on three areas:
- Endurance training increases your body’s ability to sustain physical activity for an extended period. Endurance exercises increase your breathing and heart rate, like brisk walking, jogging, running, and biking. To increase your endurance for ski season, squeeze in at least 90 minutes of endurance training every week.
- Strength and Power. Strength training increases your ability to overcome resistance, while training for power increases your capability to overcome resistance in the shortest amount of time. Both are critical to staying fit during the entire season, so squeeze in bodyweight exercises or exercises like lifting weights and working with resistance bands.
- Balance training involves exercises that strengthen the muscles that keep you upright. These help you stay stable on your skis and prevent falls. Find exercises with compound movements, which require the coordination of multiple muscle groups.
Nutrition is half the battle in conditioning your body. Your body can’t build muscle and repair itself after an intense workout session if you’re not consuming enough calories from the right kind of food.
You don’t have to follow a specific and strict diet when you’re training. But you have to eat enough whole foods (food items that have undergone minimal processing and do not contain additives). You may also make a few dietary substitutions for optimum nutrition:
- Choose low-fat cheese instead of full-fat variants
- Eat brown rice instead of white rice
- Substitute cream with low-fat milk
- Replace flavored oatmeal with unsweetened oatmeal
- Choose hummus instead of mayo
- Swap fries for a side salad
It’s also a good time to cut down on refined sugars and chips.
Ski equipment and Nordica snow boots are not the only things you should pack with you. Here are essential items that skiers often overlook:
- Most people believe that, because the sun is covered by clouds, they can go for hours outdoors without wearing sun protection. However, the opposite is true – you still need sunscreen even in the winter, no matter how cold or overcast it may be.
In fact, skiing requires sun protection for three reasons:
- You are at a high altitude. UVB rays lose their intensity as they go through the Earth’s atmosphere, which means that they’re much stronger at high altitudes than they are on sea level. Skiing and snowboard expose you to more intense UVB rays.
- You are surrounded by reflective surfaces. When UVB rays hit reflective surfaces, like snow and ice, it bounces back and hits other surfaces-like your skin. This means you have a higher risk of developing sunburn.
- Your skin is vulnerable to snow and wind. Cold temperature dries out and weakens the skin, so it needs more protection than usual.
- Many skiers experience snow blindness, or temporary eye pain because of exposure to too much UV light. Just like the skin, the eyes are also more vulnerable to UV rays during winter and at high altitudes. Don’t forget to pack your sunglasses.
To have truly fun at a skiing resort, you’ll have to go through hard work. However, the training will be worth it because you’ll make the most of the season and you’ll create memories about fun and exciting experiences – not painful and sore muscles.