Opening Day is two short months away, which means it is time to start thinking about getting our bodies ready for the physical demands required for a day of “freshies” and “face shots.” Adopting a ski-conditioning program is a great way to make that happen. What comprises an effective program, you ask? Here are a few programs I’ve found in recent research:
Cardio: The Center for Disease Control (CDC) suggests, for increased health benefits, Adults should aim for five hours of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (brisk walking, riding a bike on level ground, tennis) each week, or two-and-a-half hours of vigorous-intensity activity (jogging/running, swimming laps or hilly bike rides).
Strength Training – Lifting weights and/or resistance training (using bands or your body weight as resistance such as push-ups, sit ups, yoga) plays an important role in our overall health and is a crucial element in ski conditioning. According to the CDC Website, strength-training activities need to be done to the point where it’s hard for you to do another repetition without help. Aim for 8—12 repetitions per set. Try to do at least 1 set of muscle-strengthening activities, but to gain even more benefits, do 2 or 3 sets.
Flexibility – The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) encourages us to warm up, cool down and be flexible, because an effective fitness program is more than aerobic training and strength building. To really reap the benefits of exercise, you need to add flexibility and balance training to the mix. Remember, warming up and stretching are two different activities. Somewhere in between your five-minute warm up, which could include knee lifts, heel raises, twists and squats and hitting the slopes, stretch the major muscle groups: legs (quads, calves, hamstrings), arms/upper body, and back. You could also try these AAOS stretches.
Plyometrics – Also known as jump training, plyometrics usually involve high intensity, explosive movements (think jumping and rebounding) that cause a stretch reflex in our muscles. Of course (as with any high impact activity), there are increased risks involved with this type of movement and plyometrics aren’t for everyone. A sports medicine professional can determine if plyometrics are suitable for you and help get you started with drills you can add to your fitness program.
Remember, it’s always a good idea to check with your doctor before beginning or engaging in any fitness program!
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