Skiing at altitude is one of life’s great pleasures, but also one of the most challenging and stressful environments for exercise to take place. Those of us not used to regularly being at these altitudes (most recreational skiers) and who have not prepared themselves for the rigours of exercising at altitude can struggle. This can have a major impact on performance and therefore injury. Skiing injuries are the result of a number of factors and as such prevention is our key focus!
Fatigue is recognised as a key factor in the occurrence of injuries in a number of sports. Once an individual becomes tired, their skill level decreases and they are more likely to find themselves in a situation where they lose control.
We would recommend seeing one of our specialist sports physiotherapists or booking into the Strength & Conditioning clinic for a specific pre-ski programme that incorporates the following aspects, tailored to your needs.
Aerobic exercise targeted at improving endurance is essential. Try to exercise at least three times per week for 30 minutes duration at each session. Exercise should be maintained at 60-70% of maximal heart rate for the 30 minutes. Activities such as running, cycling, rowing and the cross trainer machine are recommended for improving aerobic endurance. The skier should remember that they will often be exercising at high altitude where perceived exertion for a set amount of work will be higher than at sea level.
Muscular strength and endurance
Lower limb strength is vital in minimising injury risk. Strength of the calf, quadriceps and gluteal muscles is especially important. Whenever possible, strengthening exercises for these muscle groups should be done in a functional manner to mimic the actions involved in skiing.
Trunk core stability exercises improve control of the abdominal, lumbar and pelvic regions. This allows the individual to maintain control of the body movements and efficiently transfer power between the lower limbs and the upper body. These exercises are very specific and require specific instruction.
Flexibility is very important in preventing injury. Skiers should stretch daily in the weeks leading up to skiing and should stretch pre and post skiing daily while on holiday.
Balance and agility
Balance and agility also play key roles in becoming a better skier. Incorporating drills to enhance these abilities will better prepare you for any terrain the mountains have to offer.
If you would like a pre ski assessment with the Harris & Ross team, call us on 0161 832 9000 or book online below.
Spending time on preparation is the definite way to stay out of trouble and enjoy your time on the piste to the max! Doing some short circuits each day is a great way to build strength and balance. Check out our consultant physio below with a 60 sec ski exercise circuit.. feel the burn!