Early last winter my grandson decided to enlist in the Navy, with a delayed active duty date being shortly after his high school graduation. At 6’4” he has the speed of a greyhound, but the agility of a puppy! During the period between his signing up and reporting for boot camp, we, the many veterans of the family, inundated him with tips and tales that would convince him to get in physical shape prior to reporting for boot camp. Upon graduating from boot camp, he called us expressing his surprise regarding how physically demanding boot camp was! Duuhhh! We tried to tell you…
Skiing is certainly not military boot camp. However, consider the constant pressures and twisting on our ankles, knees, calf muscles, quads, hamstring, and hips…from hours of skiing each day. Therefore, it makes sense that we be prepared prior to taking on the challenges the slopes present us. We need to remember that skiing and snowboarding require quick reflexes and timing in order to achieve efficient and smooth turns.
From the Professional Ski Instructors handbook is this statement, “Your fitness level will ultimately determine your ability to enjoy your sport… your fitness level will determine your risk of injury and ability to improve performance. Basic components of a conditioning program include activities that focus on: balance and agility; muscular strength and endurance; and muscle flexibility and joint mobility.”
Does that mean you are committed to going to the gym? Only if you want to, or you already go there. We’re not talking about building muscles but toning what we already have; making them respond quickly to changes in slope terrain, snow conditions, ski direction, avoiding other skiers, etc. Muscle tone, balance and quickness go hand-in-hand. Weak muscles mean weak skiing, toned muscles means more fun!
Many fitness exercises can be done at home with minimal equipment, such as: hand weights (3-5 lbs.), resistance cords, or just stairs. (I have a 3 ft diameter trampoline that provides aerobic conditioning and leg muscle toning.) It’s important to strengthen the major muscle groups of the legs: quads, hamstring, and calf muscles (One of the more frequent injuries is a torn or pulled calf muscle; very painful and takes a while to heal.). Include toning the core area (belt/waist), which is important for turning movements.
For your convenience, log onto YouTube.com search skiing exercises and pick the videos that work for you. Get in shape now to avoid the “Duuhhh… I told you so”.
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