Excellent snow conditions and cheap European breaks are encouraging an increasing number of Brits to head off to the slopes for a winter break. If you’re planning to take part, it’s important to prepare your body for the physical exertion of winter sports. Proper preparation can help get you into shape and ready to don your skis or snowboard with confidence. A simple six week regime will let you get more from your snowy fun, and help prevent you returning with an unwanted injury.
Five Simple Exercises
There’s no need to feel overwhelmed by the prospect of preparing for your winter sports holiday. You won’t need to spend endless hours in the gym. Five simple exercises is all it takes to strengthen your core and be ready to take on the demands of the slopes.
Basic Squat: stand with your hands on your hips and your feet hip-width apart. Push your hips back then slowly bend your knees, keeping them over your feet. Lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Imagining you’re about to sit on a chair can help you achieve the correct position. Return to standing position to complete. Do 3 sets of 10, 4-5 times a week.
Stabilisation Lunge: stand with your feet apart, one in front and one behind you. Slowly bend your knees to a 90 degree angle. Keep your front knee positioned over your foot and don’t let your back knee touch the floor. Hold for 20 seconds before slowly returning to your starting position. Switch legs and repeat the exercise. Do 3 lunges on each leg, 4-5 times a week.
Straight Leg Lift: Lie on your back with one leg bent and the other straight out in front of you. Tighten your thigh muscle in your straight leg and slowly lift it about 12 inches from the floor. Hold for 20 seconds before lowering to the floor. Try to keep your upper body relaxed and your tummy taut to prevent straining your back. Switch legs and repeat. Do 3 to 4 on each leg.
Calf Raises: stand with your feet hip-width apart and try to balance your weight evenly across both feet. Move to the tiptoe position, raising your heels from the floor as far as you can comfortably manage. Slowly lower your heels back to the floor to complete the exercise. Use a chair or wall to maintain balance if you need to. Do 2 sets of 10, 6-7 days a week.
Hamstring Curls: with your knees close together and your hips still, bend one knee and raise your heel toward the ceiling as far as you can manage. Hold for five seconds before returning your foot to the floor. Switch legs and repeat. Do 3 sets of 10, 4-5 times a week.
Balance Workouts With Rest Days
To ensure your body gets sufficient time to rest in between activities, complete each of the above exercises using the following workout plan.
More Snow Savvy Tips
To get the most benefit from your pre-winter sports workout plan, check out these five tips:
- Remember to warm up and cool down. Gentle stretching for 15 minutes before and after you exercise is ideal.
- Drink plenty of water before, during and after exercise. This will keep you nicely hydrated and avoid injuries.
- If you find the exercises are too easy, push yourself by gradually adding in more repetitions.
- If you’re short on time, squeeze exercise into the nooks and crannies of your day. A few short bursts of exercise are better than none at all.
- If your trip starts in less than six weeks, don’t worry. Just follow the plan for as long as you can and take it easy when you first hit the slopes.
This simple workout plan can help you prepare your body for winter sports, but it pays to err on the side of caution and ensure that your winter sports insurance includes cover for all of your planned activities.