Female downhill skiier
You’ve planned a week of intensive exercise, crossing miles of harsh mountain terrain every day, climbing and dropping thousands of feet at high altitude. You could be moving at speeds of 40mph or more, working every muscle in your legs, back and core. Wouldn’t you train and prepare physically for such a challenge? I would hope so, but these are exactly the challenges you face when skiing, and very few people I know take the time before their holiday to do any training. Despite the fact that most of us won’t have gone near a pair of skis for a year, we think we can just step into them and whizz down the slopes. You’ll get more value for your money on holiday, whether taking lessons or honing your skills, if your body lasts the course and you avoid those muscle and joint problems that can spoil your fun.
My tips for injury-free skiing
I love skiing so I’m going to pass on my top tips for exercises and preparation so you are more likely to enjoy a pain and injury-free time on the slopes. Before you go:
  • Get a check-up from your physio, especially looking at the joints that will take the most strain – hips, knees and ankles.
  • Incorporate some strengthening exercises into your routine. I recommend wall squats, lunges, sidestep squats and balance exercises. A physio, gym or fitness trainer can advise you.
  • If you feel any pain trying these, or other, exercises, stop and get advice from a doctor or physiotherapist. You don’t want to go on holiday carrying any niggling pains.
On holiday:
  • Avoid muscle strain and joint stiffness with a good stretch in the morning and a warm down before the apres ski. Skiing doesn’t require that much flexibility but hours of holding an unfamiliar skiing position will cause muscle strain. Focus on your calves and thighs, loosening up your ankles, knees and back.
  • A hot bath (or if you’re living it up, hitting the hot-tub) will help your muscles recover after a hard day’s work.
  • Take a sports ice pack with you as well as some Deep Heat or ibuprofen gel to deal with aches and pains as they occur.
  • Make sure you get a good night’s sleep to recover physically – don’t spend all night on the wine (well, not every night).
Get the most from your skiing holiday
I love skiing and I want to get the most of my annual holiday. Of course, you can never rule out a fall or a collision but a little bit of preparation makes sure that not only do I enjoy my skiing but I’m fit for work when I get back home. Enjoy the snow!   Post written in collaboration with Bill Blogs.