Welcome to 2016! It's a new year and another chance to make those resolutions as you look to change your lifestyle for the better. We can help you do just that with a fitness guide that will get you back into shape. Have you let things slip during the Christmas holidays? Or do you just want a fitness push in the new year?
Whether you have a particular interest in skiing, are involved in other sports or just want to get fit, this ski fit programme can help you get in shape, which will also (hopefully) help prevent injury and the burning muscular pain associated with reactivating idle muscle groups.
It’s very important to create a programme that you will enjoy, with equipment and classes that are easily accessible, making it more likely for you to stick with it.
Cycling is a fantastic sport for increasing fitness levels and is an activity used by professional skiers. Cycling is good for aerobic exercise as well as engaging the quads, hamstrings and calves, providing great leg strength for skiing.
Core strength is also vital for skiing, especially if you spend a lot of time falling over (you will use these muscles to get up again!) Try yoga or pilates to help build core stability – it’s also great for promoting strength and flexibility and complementary to your general fitness and wellbeing.
Steppers, rowing machines, tread mills and cross trainers are all great gym apparatus’ to use in the build up to ski season, using some of the muscles activated when skiing. Remember to build the activity up slowly, but aim to achieve two to three 45 minute sessions per week to achieve a good level of ski fitness. Ideally you should start training 3-4 months in advance for optimal levels.
Agreat way to build up your cardiovascular fitness and eliminate boredom, interval training is also a fast track to good results! It replicates the short bursts you will experience when skiing as well as helping to increase your stamina over time.
Daily exercisesThe following exercises can all be done in the comfort of your own home and will help you prepare for your winter skiing. The earlier you start, the stronger and better equipped your muscles will be, preparing you for the piste and beyond.
Strengthens: buttocks and hamstrings, quadriceps.
Stand with your back straight and your knees slightly bent. Extend one leg to the side. Slowly place your weight on the other leg and bend your knee further. Hold this position for several seconds. Make sure that you keep your back straight.
Variations: Place your arms at your side to practice this exercise more easily. Extend your arms out in front of you to increase the difficulty for this exercise.
Strengthens: buttocks and hamstrings.
Lie on your back and bend your knees so that the soles of your feet lie flat on the ground. Lift your hips and make sure that your back remains straight. Hold this position, then let your hips sink slowly back to the floor. Repeat.
Variations: extend one leg out and hold it up in the air. Lift your hips and allow them to sink back to the floor. With this variation, you increase the difficulty for this exercise.
Strengthens: ankle, knee and hip muscles. Important for cushioning any bumps or collisions.
Slowly and with knees slightly bent, take a few steps to the side in one direction and then in the other.
Variations: you can hold additional weights to expend more energy.
LEG LIFTS WITH EXTERNAL ROTATION
Strengthens: inner thigh muscles, knee stability.
Sit on the ground with your knees bent and lean backwards, supporting yourself with your arms and hands Placed behind you. Extend one leg forward and turn it outwards. Slowly raise and lower the extended leg. Repeat this exercise 15 times, twice for each leg.
Variations: as you improve, you can additionally use ankle weights.
LATERAL LEG LIFTS
Strengthens: abductor muscles and hip stability.
Lie on your side bending the knee of the bottom leg. Extend the other leg straight and slowly raise and lower it. Repeat 10 to 20 times for each leg.
Variations: you can use ankle weights for this exercise as you improve.
Strengthens: oblique abdominal muscles, back.
Lie on your side and lift and support your body using only your lower arm and your feet. Hold this position for 30 to 60 seconds for each side.
Strengthens: hip and abductor muscles.
Lie on your side and use your lower arm to support your upper body. Bend your top leg so that the sole of your foot rests flat on the ground. Extend your bottom leg straight and slowly raise and lower it. Repeat 10 to 20 times for each leg.
Variations: you can increase the difficulty for this exercise by adding ankle weights.
Strengthens: the ability to compensate for uneven surfaces and bumps.
Lightly jump from one foot to the other. Balance your weight on the leg that you land on before you hop back to the other leg.
Kneel down, get on all fours and extend one leg in the air, bent approximately at a 90-degree angle. Extend your foot, keeping it straight. Raise and lower your leg 10 to 20 times for each side.
Strengthens: thigh muscles and buttocks.
Stand with your back against the wall and lower your upper body so that your knees form a right angle. Pay attention that your feet are flat on the ground and parallel to one another. Hold this position for 30 to 120 seconds.