You could head off for a ski holiday without doing any specific fitness training. You’ll probably manage a day of full-on and exhilarating skiing – and then collapse in exhaustion and moan about aching legs, arms, back, neck and head! Come day two, you’ll be grimacing through the pain in your muscles, and by day three you might only make it as far as the nursery slopes.
That’s why a little Get Fit For Skiing training will pay off.
There are many reasons for getting into shape before you hit the slopes.
To avoid injury. A flexible and toned body is less likely to be damaged by the exertions of skiing.
For fun: Skiing with lots of aches and pains is no fun. Being fit for skiing before you go on holiday will put a smile on your face from day one to day seven.
For more fun: The fitter you are the better your stamina will be – and the longer you will be able to ski each day.
To save money: Why spend lots of money on a ski holiday if you can only ski for two days, before collapsing in exhaustion (see above)?
Why is skiing so tiring?
On average, in one day of skiing you’ll spend at least two hours in total descending a range of slopes. 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. (Think, step machine at the gym, combined with a bit of Zumba dancing, 40 sets of 20 leg squats, 20 sets of ab curls and another 40 leg lunges, repeated all day long.)
So, you’ll have a better skiing holiday if you are fit for skiing
Start on these exercises at least a couple of months before your skiing trip.
Cardiovascular exercise: The best way to get fit for skiing is to ski. You could head along to a local dry ski slope or an indoor snow slope if you live near one. Another similar sport is Nordic walking (shown in the header).
But the chances are you’ll need to rely on other sports, such as walking and running. Aim to walk briskly or run for a total of a couple of hours each week, including several hill sections. Push up the hills, so you are using your leg and butt muscles more than usual.
Strengthening: Spend 15 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.
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 joint and muscles flexibility. The suppler you are the better you’ll cope with the bumps and twists of skiing.
* Keep a check on this blog for “Get fit for snowboarding”.