Winter is here and that means the days are shorter and generally colder, even here in Louisiana! While that may mean less time for sports and activities outdoors for some, many are planning and getting ready to enjoy the snow! Like any sport, winter sports like skiing and snowboarding can cause an injury. But there are some things you can do now to get physically prepared and reduce your risk! Here are a few areas to focus on.
It’s important to build up aerobic endurance. Activities such as running, biking, rowing, and elliptical for 30-60 minutes 3-5 times per week will help with this by increasing your oxygen utilization capacity. This is particularly important at high altitudes. Also for high intensity levels of skiing and boarding, interval training will get you prepared.
Of course the main focus here is on the legs! Exercises such as squats, lunges, leg extensions, curls, and calf raises will strengthen the quads, glutes, hamstrings, and gastrocnemius complex. But upper body exercises should be included. Also time spent on core training will definitely pay off!
Your joints and muscles will be negatively affected by the cold weather and gear, so increasing your flexibility now will only help prevent injury later. Again the focus should be on the lower extremities. And remember to warm up before your stretch!
Balance and agility
Sometimes things happen quickly on the slopes so having good balance and coordination will help avoid a fall and thus a potential injury. Incorporate exercises that include the physio ball, bosu ball, jump rope, and ladders for example.
Once you are there, remember to hydrate, limit your alcohol intake, and give yourself some time to acclimate to the altitude! Nothing will ruin your trip like altitude sickness! Prepare yourself and use common sense and you can enjoy an injury free winter vacation!!