Opinion Column

Are you ski ready for the upcoming season?

By Donna Cotnam, Daily Observer

Topics

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 ready for it. 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, push-ups and maybe some bent over rows will do the job. Don’t forget about your cardio. Try some stationary forward stride jumps, squat hops or maybe some alternate high knee jogging.

The better prepared you are physically for your activity of choice, the better you will perform. The better you perform the more you will enjoy it. The more you enjoy your activity, the more often you will do it. The more often you do it the better shape you will be in. Do you see where I’m going with this?

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 TV for 20 minutes a night and exercise as a family. While you are going through each set, plan your ski days. Talk about the where and the whens. Plan the lunches you will bring. By the end of the discussion you will have done all of your exercises and feel refreshed….ready for the snow!

Don’t forget to add some ‘core’ strengthening exercises to your training. Strong abdominal muscles and a strong back are important for all activities...even it’s just sitting at your desk wishing you were skiing.

I’m not trying to rush the snow, but I do hope you are ready for it when it gets here!

If there are any specific fitness related questions you would like addressed please email them to fitmom@hotmail.com.