How to prepare for your annual ski trip

I am sure that by now you are starting to get excited about your skiing trip. You’ve bought all the up-to-date gear and checked your boots and skis from last year still feel comfortable. But have you done enough about getting yourself fit?

When I was younger we had to attend pre-ski exercise sessions or go for a few lessons at a dry ski-slope. Being a beginner is no excuse either as you do a lot of falling over and getting back up, to say nothing of the leg strength required to maintain a snow plough. Remember also that the ski resorts are at a much higher altitude than most of us are used to so, with less oxygen in the air, things seem like much harder work.

I wonder how many people actually do keep-fit sessions to prepare for their annual ski trip. For most, it will be the most physically challenging week, not to mention one of the most expensive holidays of your year.

So, to maximize your week’s skiing, you should take stock of your own fitness and posture.

So where should you start?

Improve your aerobic capacity so you don’t get out of breath. You want to feel like you’re puffing but not gasping for air on the slopes. Do some cardio work a few times a week.

Who hasn’t suffered from burning thighs after that long red run home and tired aching muscles that cramp the next day. You absolutely need to work on your legs, specifically your quads (those chunky muscles on the front of your thigh), the glutes (buttocks) and calves. Core muscles located around your stomach, lower back and sides, shouldn’t be neglected either. All of these muscles will help you maintain good posture and stance when skiing and they’re absolutely essential when you need to get up after a fall!

It’s easy to get fit for skiing if you already belong to a gym. Ask the osteopaths at The Wimbledon Osteopath to suggest a “ski fit” program”. It takes a minimum of 8 weeks to get into shape; ideally 12 weeks. Don’t leave it too late!

If you prefer, join some group exercise classes. Spin and Zumba classes are great for improving your cardiovascular fitness and circuits are good for strengthening those skiing muscles. Pilates and Yoga are best for core workouts.

For those of you who aren’t “gym bunnies” we’ve devised a program to help you get fit fast at home. You’ll need to exercise for about an hour three times a week for 8 weeks before your holiday to get the most out of the program.

Warm up with 3 minutes of marching/jogging on the spot.

Follow with 20 minutes brisk walking/running/cycling. You should be puffing but not gasping for breath.

3 sets of 15 squats
3 sets of 10 static lunges (1 set = 10 lunges on right leg followed by 10 on left leg)
3 sets of 15 calf raises

3 sets of 15 hip bridges
3 sets of 15 sit ups
Hold a plank position for as long as possible (aim for a minute), if the full plank is too difficult start on your knees
Hold side plank for 30 seconds on each side, easier option is to start on your knees.

This is an initial program but you need to make it more demanding as weeks go on and Krystyna and Alessia can show you how. As osteopaths we have a detailed knowledge of your anatomy and body physiology and can tailor the exercises to your particular needs, which is more advanced than anything a gym can offer.
Why not give us ago.

Alessia is specially trained in sports massage, which makes her the perfect choice. She is adept at kinesio-taping techniques so any strain or injury can be supported and treated efficiently to best allow you to continue your training.

Why see an osteopath for pre ski trip conditioning?

There are so many physical demands on your body when skiing so you want to go out on the slopes feeling as mobile as possible. As osteopaths, we know that if the pelvis is out of alignment it affects your whole body mechanics. If one leg is shorter than the other, then it is reasonable to assume that you will be able to traverse the slope in one direction better that the other. Following on from that, because of your lean into the slope, you’ll also be able to turn better on one side.

When any patient visits The Wimbledon Osteopath for the first time with back pain, invariably one side of the pelvis appears higher than the other. There are many reasons for this. The individual’s posture may have adapted around a sprained ankle or broken leg in the past, or they may have a stiff hip. Sometimes it’s just from bad posture which has become a habit.

Osteopaths see the pelvis as the foundation of the building and if that isn’t level then the rest of the building, notably the spine, can’t be straight either.

Find out more about how we fix the problem and the treatments we offer. here 

Chronic pelvic problems left unattended can result in degeneration at the lumbar spine including disc compression. Structural osteopathic treatment using massage and spinal  manipulation work best.

Over time, postural adaptations can occur higher up the back like the thoracic spine. Often one shoulder appears higher than another or more forward. We treat the whole body so you get better and stay pain free for longer.

So, in anticipation of your forthcoming ski trip, come see one of us. We can sort out your pelvic imbalances and provide you with appropriate stretches and a ‘ski-fit’ program tailored to your individual needs. Schedule in a couple of sports massage sessions with Alessia to loosen up leg muscles. You’ll feel great and be well prepared!

If you are concerned about a back problem, or what to have a pre-trip postural evaluation, then give The Wimbledon Osteopath a call. Also, if you take a fall while on the slopes, then it makes sense to get it checked out once you are back from your holiday. This way you eliminate the negative effects of long-term postural imbalances and unnecessary suffering.

Enjoy your skiing!