Health & Fitness

By Leslie Rice Hart

Skiing and Snowboarding are activities most people do only a few times during the year. In most cases, individuals are not properly conditioned for these challenging sports, which in turn leads to sore muscles and possible injury.

You’ll spend more time on the slopes and less time in the lodge if you participate in a specific conditioning program for these sports. A well-rounded program should include training to improve your muscular strength and flexibility. The program should also include aerobic activity to increase your endurance.

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Julian Walker is a Fitness Trainer and owner of Beneficial Fitness. He creates specific fitness programs for his clients who are planning to ski and snowboard. Below he demonstrates some of the exercises he uses to properly prepare and condition them.

Muscular Strength
Upper leg strength is essential to proper conditioning because you drive yourself forward, in skiing, with the muscles in your upper legs.

Exercises such as leg extensions, leg curls and lunges work the upper leg and are excellent exercises for skiing.

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Strengthening core muscles is also recommended for these activities. (refer to December 2005 Health and Fitness article-Down to the Core for examples of exercises) Strong core muscles lead to all around better balance and stability which are essential to staying up on skis and snowboards.

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Upper body strength is also important for skiing. Pushups are a good exercise to incorporate all your upper body muscles.

Flexibility
Flexibility is extremely important in avoiding injury when you have sudden changes in direction or when you fall. Stretching the particular muscles and joints you will be using is essential. Only stretch warm muscles.

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Aerobics and Endurance Training
Aerobic training will enable you to ski longer. Both skating and cycling use your upper leg muscles and are great aerobic training activities for the slopes. Running hills is beneficial, an exercise that works the upper part of the legs. Agility and interval training is great to prepare you for quick, explosive movements that you might encounter on the slopes.

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There are exercise classes and fitness programs designed for skiing and snowboarding.

For more information contact Julian Walker at www.BeneficialFitness.com or 212-679-1315.

Ski Ready is a group exclusive exercise program offered at New York Sports Club. New classes begin on January 23. Register online at www.NYSC.com or call central reservations now at 888.412.2231

Originally published January 2006
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