During the winter months many of us head out to the mountains and tackle some big slope skiing or snowboarding in our fave holiday destinations. However, many will return injured since spending the majority of the year without practising beforehand. For skiers, we predominantly see knee injuries, and for boarders it tends to be more face, shoulder and wrist injuries.
Injuries are common on the slopes, and its usually a combination of out of practice skiers, dangerous slippery slopes and also other skiers crashing into one another at various speeds a s it tends to be a common winter break. You do still need to be careful out there. Injuries can be caused because we are using our muscle groups in an entirely different way to the way we use them for the other 51 weeks of the year.
Doing some simple preparation work will go a long way to helping you improve your ski performance, stamina and enjoyment on the slopes, whilst also helping to prevent strains and aches while on your holiday! There’s nothing worse than returning back from your relaxing trip in pain and needing to seek medical help. So here are our top tips to help you stay strong, keep knee, back, shoulder injuries at bay, plus make your next ski holiday the best one to date!
Step 1: Build strength in your legs
Skiing relies a lot on your legs. They must be strong to keep squatting and flexible enough to move with the snow and react to the terrain – watch out for the moguls……
You also want to work on your weaker side too. As we are all generally one side dominant, you want to be comfortable being able to turn both directions with ease.
There are many exercises that can be done to strengthen the legs, so please speak to your trusted health professional to find out what is right for you. In general, exercises such as squats, lunges, shoulder bridges will all help.
Step 2: Work on your balance
Balance is important as it helps to minimise strain, reduce effort and improves technique. You need to be comfortable with weight transfer to each leg. Remember that it’s the ligaments around the joints that tell your brain what’s happening at the joint, so the brain then tells the muscles to react and do their job to support and move the joint appropriately.
Simple things that you can do are to practice standing on one leg, do lunges whilst rotating the upper body, and if you want to work a little harder then try those simple tasks whilst your eyes are closed. Not easy is it.
Step 3: Work on your stamina
This comes with strength, but also on your cardiovascular fitness. Depending on the kind of exercise you prefer doing, running, cycling step machine and even rowing machines all used properly will help build that leg strength but also that cardiovascular stamina fitness. Just think that if your stamina is good, you will be able to ski all day feeling less fatigued. If your stamina is poor, you will feel fatigued and tired. You are more likely to make mistakes, mistakes lead to falls, and falls lead to injuries. I know what I would prefer to be.
Step 4: Wear custom fit orthotics
Wearing custom fit orthotics in your ski boots will help massively. These orthotics will make your feet more comfortable, give your body a much better alignment, and give you a better feel for your skis and balance. I’ve written a blog post all about it HERE
Step 5: Speak to your physiotherapist
This is always something that I would advise anyone to do, especially if it has been a while since you were last on the slopes. Your physiotherapist will be able to assess any existing niggles or aches, and even help to discover any pre-existing weaknesses that may affect your skiing.
Your physio will then be able to help plan an exercise routine that suits your fitness and strength, which will help you prepare for the ski slopes.
After skiing, if you are unlucky to sustain an injury, then you should seek help from a specialist physiotherapist. They will be best experienced to help you deal with and recover from a skiing injury.
If you believe you may be suffering from a skiing or snowboarding related injury or any kind of pain/condition, why not book a FREE 15-minute discovery visit?
In this complimentary visit you will have a chance to speak to us about your needs/and or condition/concerns and we will let you know if physio is right for you.
To book an appointment or a discovery visit, call us on: 0207 636 8845