To take full advantage of the joys of skiing on the slopes, a little physical preparation is essential. Before the long-awaited stay, it is better to plan a progressive fitness. And for good reason, sliding sports (skiing, snowboarding) are demanding disciplines requiring all the muscles and in particular the quadriceps as well as the stabilizing muscles of the trunk, hence the importance of doing muscular work before going. in the mountains. The goal: not to feel limited by your physical condition. To begin with, the Institute for Research, Well-Being, Medicine and Health Sport (IRBMS) would like to point out that ” all those who suffer from cardio-respiratory insufficiency must consult their doctor before a stay at altitude to receive advice and appropriate treatment. Skiing also risks triggering and aggravating spinal pain. This is why the organization recommends resuming generalized physical activity and starting to prepare your muscles at least four to six weeks before departure.
This represents approximately 15 sports sessions to be spread over three sequences of one or two hours each week. The observation is the same for the Assurance Prévention association, which points out that a very large number of ski accidents are linked to poor physical preparation. ” Indeed, whatever the sport practiced, downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, snowboarding or snowshoeing, the efforts are not only unusual, but also made more intense by the cold. Also, in early fall, our activity level tends to drop. When we arrive on the slopes, our muscles are no longer used to making significant efforts, so it is essential to prepare your body before hitting the slopes. “, she says. His watchword: the better the physical preparation, the greater the pleasure, and the more limited the risk of injury. Ideally, a variety of sporting activities should be practiced throughout the year: cycling, mountain biking, cardio-training, swimming, rollerblading, jogging, gymnastics, etc. Because who says regular training says better shape on the slopes.
Very simple exercises to strengthen your lower limbs
For people in this situation, the IRBMS recommends focusing mainly on the lower limbs but also on working on balance. Note that the practices of the exercise bike, stepper, running, are particularly recommended to strengthen especially the lower limbs. ” On the other hand, if you do not usually practice sport, it is necessary, in addition to muscular preparation, to carry out physical preparation. The exercise bike is recommended, jogging is very useful with of course the imperative need not to force at the start. “, emphasizes the institute. In addition, nothing like a bike ride: a complete sport that works all the muscles of the legs. But no question of excessive training, a few hours a week is enough. For people who are not fans of other sports per se, it is possible to take advantage of every moment of the day to multiply physical exercises such as going up and down stairs, walking quickly, gardening, playing ball with the children, make daily trips on foot, on rollerblades, by bike….
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And this without forgetting however to include in this routine a small exercise: stand on one leg to work on your balance, an important work to prevent sprains of the knee and ankle. Another more complex variant consists of lifting one foot and closing your eyes, or even making small circles around the supporting foot, not forgetting to change feet. In addition, some very simple exercises, recommended by the Mountain Doctors Association, only take a few minutes of daily practice. They are to be done at home or at the office during the break, as regularly and as soon as possible before departure. These include the essential flexions/extensions: standing, keeping your back straight, perform series of 20 with your legs (do not exceed 120°), knowing that this exercise is then to be performed in a forward lunge. A second exercise is the famous “chair”, namely leaning your back against a wall and taking the position of a chair (back and thighs at a right angle) before maintaining the position a little longer each time.
Stretching is essential in parallel with physical activity
In addition, it is also possible to do bodybuilding exercises simply by stopping taking the elevator and walking up the floors. But athletic or not, if there is one part of the body that must be worked on a daily basis, it is the legs, and more precisely the quadriceps (the muscle on the front of the thigh, the most voluminous of the body ). To sharpen them, there is nothing better than practicing the traditional muscle strengthening exercises of squats and lunges, which are extremely effective. But be careful, depending on the level of practice, it may be wise to start the first sessions with bodyweight exercises before using weights whose load can change over time. At home, it is also recommended to test your abdominal sheathing and work on it accordingly, knowing that this exercise also helps prevent low back pain. However, the back can be subjected to strong constraints during gliding activities in the high mountains. ” Finally, a bit of skipping rope improves posture and balance during your physical preparation. “, points out the IRBMS.
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Note that some ski clubs and sports halls offer ski preparation sessions in autumn and winter: it is possible to inquire at your local club. In addition to the physical exercise itself, this phase of preparation for winter sports must contain daily stretching exercises for the lower limbs and the back, to be repeated after each day spent on the slopes. Thus, the Assurance Prévention association gives its tips for stretching the fore-thighs correctly: standing, grabbing a foot to press against your buttocks, keeping your thighs together, and touching a wall if necessary to stabilize yourself. But also the back of the thigh: standing, bend one leg and extend the other forward, ideally with the foot bent, the heel resting on a step, before leaning slightly forward with your back straight. As for the calves, the stretch consists of taking a forward lunge position, rear leg stretched with the foot flat, and trying to press the heel into the ground. Be careful, these stretches should never be painful and each position must be held for at least 30 seconds to be effective.
Food, hydration and sleep: the winning combo on the spot
As for the warm-ups to be carried out on site, crossing the snow front with ski boots on your feet is already a good physical exercise which requires breath, to be combined with a few warm-up exercises consisting of bending of the head and wrists. In the evening after exercise, stretching will limit the risk of muscular accidents and improve recovery. And if physical preparation is essential, diet also plays an important role. “ The efforts and the cold quickly deplete the reserves: do not leave without a hearty but balanced lunch and take a few snacks (energy bars, dried fruit). », confirms Assurance Prévention, which recommends not skipping fruits and vegetables. And bet on starchy foods for their slow sugars which gradually provide energy. On the other hand, the organization advises against fatty meals because, contrary to popular belief, they do not protect against the cold. If alcohol is to be avoided, hydration before and after exercise remains essential, even without feeling thirsty because the dryness of the air in the mountains accentuates water loss.
Finally, the last recommendation on site and not the least is to always adapt your skis to your personal case and your level of practice. For exemple ” a ski that is too long or too hard causes too much muscular effort to be developed, a ski that is too flexible gives a loss of damping and increases lower back pain, a ski that is too nervous, on the other hand, can require better landings and much more damping of the shocks after each bump. », warns the IRNMS. Once the appropriate equipment has been chosen, not without seeking advice from a professional, the bindings should be properly adapted to the recommended standards. ” Once there, don’t forget that the cold will surprise you. Give yourself the means to fight well against it with good equipment., concludes the organization. Another essential tip, regardless of the physical activity practiced, is to go to bed early to bet on a good night’s sleep to start off on good feet the next morning. Because it would be a shame to spoil all the benefits acquired during this famous physical preparation.
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