Skiing and snowboarding are a fantastic form of exercise, challenging both our muscles and our cardio vascular system in an extremely enjoyable way. Both require a significant amount of strength and endurance to stay on the slopes for the duration of holiday. Unfortunately, most of us have not prepared enough in advance to meet the demands of what is required.
Most of the injuries we see in the clinic throughout the year are not as a result of a sudden traumatic injury, like a big fall leading to a broken bone. Instead, the most common injuries are a result of an imbalance between the loads/stresses we put through our body versus their ability to tolerate that load. The level of tolerance we have is variable and is constantly changing in adaption to our current activity levels. For example, a marathon runner training to do a marathon can gradually adapt to slowly building their weekly mileage over the training program so that they can tolerate the full 26.2 miles. If they then don’t run for a few months they wouldn’t be able to run another marathon again without have to train again as their level of tolerance would slowly ebb away leaving them prone to an injury.
Exactly the same applies to skiing and boarding injuries.
Now unfortunately, the UK doesn’t have many mountains to get some regular practice on! This means that skiing/snowboarding tends to be something we don’t do all year then suddenly we go away and are on the mountain for 5 hours or so for 6 days a week straight. That is a dramatic and sudden change in the load and demands we put through our body. This increase in demand can cause the tissues to become sensitive and painful. This then causes them to lose tolerance (their ability to cope) and can mean that everyday activities can start to aggravate them further (more commonly known as an overuse injury). Such injuries then tend to become a vicious cycle of pain, rest, recover, start exercising again, pain, rest………a cycle that needs to be broken to avoid you having to limit what you do and have a life impacted by recurrent pain.
The good news is, you can do a lot to prevent getting such an injury on the slopes.
Whilst it is difficult to practice skiing/snowboarding in advance of going (there are indoor slopes and dry skiing slopes around, which we encourage you to visit in advance to get used to the demands) you can still take measures to reduce the risks of such overuse injuries. By training your body in another way, we can help give it the ability to deal with the demands that we are likely to put through it over the course of the holiday.
Over the course of a week, just imagine what physical demands are placed on your body during such a physical task such as skiing or snowboarding?!
To prepare for this, you can increase your body’s ability to cope with those increased demands by strengthening and conditioning your body, which will increase it’s tolerance levels. The best way of doing this is through doing specific strengthening exercises. Whilst bodyweight exercises are a good start, the ideal method would be through resistance training using weights or resistance machines.
However, the weights area of a gym can be a daunting place if you’ve never used weights before, and even if you have, what are the best exercises to do? What muscles or areas should you target for skiing or boarding? How many repetitions? How many sets? It can all be very confusing!
Let us help you!
Here at goPhysio we’ve set up a specialist exercise programme aimed at getting you prepared for skiing/snowboarding and giving you an introduction into strength training in a friendly, supportive and knowledgeable environment.
If you’re interested in getting the most out of your holiday, now’s the time to start! (You’d be shocked to hear how many people come in 5 days before their holiday with a knee injury they’ve had for 6 months, wanting us to wave a magic wand!!)
- Your first session will be a 1-2-1 Snow Start Up Session. In this practical 1 hour session, Physio Chris will find out more about you and your skiing or boarding level, any injuries or concerns, your fitness and holiday plans. From this he will create a bespoke, guided exercise programme for you to do at goPhysio over the following weeks. This session will be led by Physio Chris, who has previously worked with British ParaSnowSport, bringing his experience into selecting the most suitable exercises to getting you ready for the slopes.
- 5 x 1 hour Practical Sessions During each of your 5 following 1 hour practical sessions, you will work on your program alongside 2 other attendees, in our fully equipped Strong Room. This will be under the guidance and supervision of one of our Sports & Rehabilitation Therapists, who will be on hand to adjust your exercises, add new challenges and monitor your progress. You can do 1 session a week or 2 sessions a week – we can be flexible to accommodate your timings!
- Review Once you’ve come to the end of your 5 sessions, Physio Chris will carry out a review of your progress, and support you with your goals from there!
This package costs £210 (payable in advance) and you can book your Snow Start Up by calling 023 8025 3317.
Want to read more about skiing or snowboarding injuries? Take a look at these other articles:
The benefit of Pilates for winter sports
5 Tips to Survive the Slopes this Winter
More about Physio Chris and his Snowsport experience