Are you physically conditioned to ski? Because it’s that time of year again. The peaks are snow-capped. The slopes show a hint of white. It’s time to prepare our bodies for the winter ski season. Skiing is a different beast from summer sports. There are few summer sports that can compare to the physical act of skiing. Therefore, to ski your best this winter, you will want to practice these basics of sports conditioning. If you get lots of physical exercise on a regular basis, and you have no injuries, then you can start your ski conditioning as few as 4-6 weeks before hitting the slopes. Optimally, ski conditioning should start as early as 8 weeks before the season begins.
When getting in shape to ski, you should begin by toning your legs. Your cardio, or aerobic, exercise should be your main means of leg-toning. Choose cardio exercises that simulate skiing, whenever possible. For cardio, cross-country ski machines and slide-boards are two good choices. Taking aerobics classes are also helpful. Classes make you move in different directions, focus on the legs, and work on a cross-training basis. But since skiing can be very anaerobic, using brief bursts of power (“hitting the slopes”) followed by reduced intensity and rest (chairlift), you should try to practice anaerobic work-outs, too. Include powerful bursts of intensity throughout your cardio work-outs.
While cardio should be your main focus, you can also tone your legs for skiing with strength training. Lunges and squats, for example, are the two best exercises for toning legs, for any sport or just to create a hot butt! Lunges are probably the single-best exercise for creating skiers’ legs. Unless you have a knee injury, you can usually hold heavier dumbbells. Make sure you keep your torso upright, and keep your feet very wide apart from each other. Form is crucial! Flexibility training should include loosening legs, hips, and torso. Yoga may be helpful, as it also improves your balance and breathing. If you stretch on your own, without yoga, you’ll want to include rotation. Loosen the torso and hips, and make them ready to turn.
To get in shape faster, you can add some natural therapies to your daily program. Get a sports massage. Eat healthier, including lots of lean proteins and vegetables. Use a sauna, especially the Far Infrared Saunas. And ice sore muscles. To tone up to ski, you’ll want to include the three main types of exercise: cardio (aerobic and anaerobic), strength training, and flexibility. Emphasize the legs, and loosen the hips and torso, but work the whole body. There are also extra options to maximize getting in shape. As you prepare for each pre-ski work-out, imagine yourself swooshing through fresh Aspen powder!