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The Power of Pilates for your Winter Holiday Prep

Posted on 1st November 2019 by

Skiing and snow-boarding are both a highly active activity and form of exercise that people of all ages can enjoy.  Unfortunately, it is not something that we can practice all year round and tends to be a long-awaited trip we take each year.  This means our bodies are often unprepared for the strenuous work we ask of it during a week on the slopes, sometimes causing us significant pain and discomfort – whether it’s just a result of our efforts on the snow or of sustaining an injury.

Many people are starting to realise this and are taking steps to get ‘ski fit’.  They do this by taking classes such as circuit-based classes.  These classes are great in improving cardiovascular fitness. However, these types of classes often neglect our core muscles.  Skiing and boarding demands a lot from these muscles, so it makes sense to prepare them in advance of going to the slopes. 

Pilates is a fantastic way to do this, improving both strength, endurance and balance throughout your body from your core through to your arms & legs.

Having a flexible, strong and resilient core with give you greater control on the snow.  This improved control and agility help you feel like movement is effortless when on your skis.  Effortless movement requires less concentration as well as a reduced demand of your cardiovascular system.  This reduction in fatigue allows you to be more alert on the snow, so less likely to fall as you get tired and distracted. 

At goPhysio our Pilates classes are all lead by physiotherapists and sports therapists, all with a vast experience of rehabilitating around pain and injury.  We have classes available from beginners through to advanced and we can adapt any exercise for you to work around any limitations you may have.

Here’s a couple of great Pilates exercises for you to practice if you’re off to the slopes this season.

Foot Series

  1. Stand with your feet hip width apart
  2. Bend your knee into a squat, keeping your chest upright and knees pointing over your toes
  3. From the squat position slowly rise up onto your toes (keeping the knees bent) then lower the heels
  4. Repeat 5 heel raises per squat, 10 times

Shoulder Bridge

  1. Lying on your back with your knees bent, with or without a resistance band round your knees
  2. Squeeze your bottom to lift your hips off the floor, keep resistance in the band if you’re using one
  3. Hold, keeping the pelvis level
  4. Lower then repeat

Clam Level 3

  1. Start in a natural standing position.
  2. Bend your right hip 45 and the knee to 90 degrees, keeping your legs a hip distance apart.
  3. Put your hands on your waist. Inhale to prepare.
  4. Exhale, rotate your right hip outwards, keeping your pelvis stable.
  5. Inhale, rotate your right hip back to the middle, keeping the pelvis stable.
  6. Repeat up to ten times on the right leg and then repeat on the opposite side.

Allow us to help you prepare for the slopes and to make your holiday as enjoyable as it should be.  Take a look here for more information about our range of Pilates classes and flexible booking options.

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Get Ready For The Slopes

Posted on 13th October 2017 by

Ski fit The end of 2018 is fast approaching, and we’re already seeing people full of excitement about their upcoming snow holidays for the end of the year and into 2019.

Each and every year we get panicked phone calls from people with injuries that have niggled on for months, who are off on their snow holidays in the next few days. We do our best to help however we can, but the human body needs time and investment to perform at it’s best, so we can’t work miracles overnight!

Skiing and snow boarding are very physically demanding. These holidays involve an intense period of activity. They are also precious time away with friends and family and don’t come cheap! So, you need to make sure your body can cope with the demands so you can really make the most of your holiday!

Our top tips

  1. Get any ongoing or niggling injuries sorted now. Don’t wait until the week before you go away. There can be very simple and effective ways of resolving injuries once you know what’s going on and have a personalised recovery plan. The ‘wait and see’ approach can sometimes pay off, but if you have a physical challenge coming up, ask yourself is it worth risking it?
  2. Think about starting Pilates. Taking part in a few months of Pilates can have a massive impact on your strength, stability and movement control. Read more about the benefit of Pilates for winter sports here. 
  3. Do some specific strength and conditioning work to make sure you’re fit for the slopes. If you want a customised, specific programme, think about our small group rehab sessions with our Sports Therapy team. We have specific skiing and snowboarding sessions, led by Snowsport Physio Chris.

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5 Tips To Survive On The Slopes This Winter

Posted on 28th December 2016 by

Many of us will be packing our bags and heading for the slopes in the new year, but how do we make sure we come back injury free?

#1: Preparation

A week on the slopes can be exciting, exhilarating, and for most of us – completely exhausting! 6-8 hours a day of aerobic exercise requiring good balance, strength and flexibility – it’s often a lot more than our office jobs demand of us! So to get the most out of your holiday start your preparation early – ideally this should begin 6-12 weeks before your fit the slopes depending on your base level of fitness. If you have any niggling injuries try to get them seen to by a physio ASAP before you go to give yourself maximum chance of recovery rather than leaving it until the week before!

Key areas to tackle in your ski-fit workout include:

Aerobic fitness – cycling, running, cross trainers or step machines are great to build up your aerobic capacity and get those legs working at the same time, if your gym has a ‘ski trainer’ machine even better!

Strength training – focus on the quads and gluts with the following easy exercises you can do at home:

Skiing Exercises

Step downs: standing with one foot on a step facing forwards, slowing lower yourself down to tap the heel of the other foot to the floor, then bring it back on the step. Try to keep your pelvis level and your standing knee in line with your 2nd toe as you do this!

 


skiing exercises

Lateral step downs: with one foot on a step facing sideways, slowly bend your knee to tap te heel of the other foot to the ground. Try to keep your pelvis level and your standing knee in line with your 2nd toe as you do this!


ski injury prevention exercises

Backward lunges: From a standing position step back into a lunge, dropping the back knee towards the floor. Try to keep your pelvis level and your standing knee in line with your 2nd toe as you do this!


 

Bridge exerciseBridge: Laying on your back, squeeze your buttocks and lift your hips off
the ground, hold for 5 seconds then slowly lower.


Clam exercise

Clam: Lay on one side with your knees bent and feet together, make sure your hips are stacked one on top of the other then slowly lift your top knee and lower.

 


 

Flexibility – ankle and hip flexibility is essential for efficient skiing, try these stretches:

Soleus stretch: Stand with one foot in front of the other, bend both knees until you feel a stretch in the lower part of the calf on the back leg. Hold 30secs.

Soleus stretch


Glut stretch: Lay on your back, cross one foot over the other thigh to feel the stretch in your buttock, to increase this stretch pull that other thigh in towards your chest. Hold 30secs.

glute-stretch


Adductor stretch: Stand with your legs wide apart, lunge to one side taking the weight over the knee, keep both feet facing forwards. Hold 30 secs.

Adductor stretch


If you want to have some expert guidance in a more supportive setting, we run specialist exercise based group rehab, where we can put together a bespoke exercise plan for you to work on under our supervision in our Strong Room. You can read more about this specialist service here.

#2: Warm up

Preparation done, don’t ruin your hard work by forgetting to warm up before you leave the chalet. Get all your joints (ankles, knees, hips, thoracic spine and shoulders) warmed up by taking them through their full range of motion several times. Squats, lunges, heel raises and upper body twists are all great to start firing those key muscle groups. It’s worth spending a good 5-10minutes on this before you head out, then repeat a couple when you get to the top of that chair lift if it’s been a long ride!

#3: Protection

If you’re carrying an injury be sure to strap yourself up; theres a huge range of knee braces, wrist guards and back protectors on the market so ask your physio if you’re not sure. And don’t forget that helmet!

#4: On the slopes

Remember you are most likely to injure yourself when your muscles are fatigued so regular breaks, good hydration (of the non-alcoholic variety!) and knowing when to call it a day are all essentials to not ruin your holiday on day 1! Well-fitting boots are also key to prevent blisters and sores that will hamper your ski style!

#5: Apres-ski

Stretching for a few minutes before you head to the bar is going to make your next day’s skiing a lot more comfortable, (see stretches above) and remember that alcohol is likely to affect you more at altitude, particularly after a full days exercise, so take it easy!

People who’ve read this article have also found the following useful:

Train for the slopes

The benefit of Pilates for Winter Sports

More about Physio Chris and his Snowsport experience