Opinion Column

Columnist Donna Cotnam asks if you are ready for ski season

By Donna Cotnam, Daily Observer

Fotolia photo
A young girl does a lunge exercise with medicine ball. Lunges are a great way to get ready for ski season.

Fotolia photo A young girl does a lunge exercise with medicine ball. Lunges are a great way to get ready for ski season.

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I know we don’t want to admit it but snow is just around the corner. Are you ready to hit the slopes or the trails?

Living in this part of the world you have three choices as winter approaches – join the snowbirds and take off to the sunny south; fill your pantry with comfort food and hibernate for the next five months; or embrace the great outdoors, get out there and get physical.

If option three is your choice, which I really hope it is, then let’s make sure you are prepared. Even if you exercise regularly and are in good physical shape, it’s really important to prepare your body for the change in activity. You will be using your muscles differently and it’s good to be prepared for that.

If you haven’t been already, now would be a good time to start adding weights to your workout. Strengthening your legs will definitely improve you performance. Downhill skiers and snowboarders will see noticeable improvements in their stamina and technique with stronger lower body muscles. Strengthening you quads, glutes and hamstrings is easy to incorporate to your daily routine, even if you do not exercise regularly. A few sets each of squats, lunges, hamstring curls and leg extensions every other day will make soaring down the slopes so much easier.

For cross-country skiers and snowshoers, in addition to some low body exercises, you are going to want to add some upper body exercise to your ski prep as well. Pay special attention to the shoulders, chest and upper back. Overhead presses, anterior arm raises, pushups and maybe some bent over rows will do the job.

Another thing to consider and add to your prep work is to mimic the activity. If you are a boarder then try some180 degree squat jumps. Cross-country ski enthusiast – stride jumps/lunges will work great and for you downhillers, my favourite – mogul jumps – legs tight together, knees bent, jump 45 degree turn in the air landing with both feet flat. These mimicking exercises should be done repeatedly and at the speed in which you perform the activity.

The better prepared you are physically for your activity of choice, the better you will perform.

Now don’t keep this information to yourself. Include the whole family. Everyone of every age will benefit from some ‘ski-prep’ exercises. Step away from the television for twenty minutes a night and exercise as a family. Don’t forget to add some ‘core’ strengthening exercises to your training. Back extensions, ab crunches and extension, alternate knee to elbow crossovers will all add to a stronger performance level in you skiing or snowboarding.

I'm not trying to rush the snow, but hope you are ready for it when it gets here! If there is any specific fitness related questions you would like addressed please email them to fitmom@hotmail.com.