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Preparing for fun winter sports

The leaves are beginning to change colors and the days are getting shorter. While some people look drudgingly at swirling leaves, others are filled with anticipation as their favorite winter activities draw closer. 

It is very important for winter sports enthusiasts to train and do specific conditioning exercises before hitting the snow because, due to the spring and summer off-season, muscles may need time to adjust. Starting off the season with an injury would definitely put a damper on the fun. It’s important to do sport-specific conditioning to reduce the chance of injury and aid in performance and enjoyment of the sport.

 • Skiing and Snowboarding  Conditioning for these sports involves a variety of physical skills including strength, flexibility, endurance, agility, and balance. Muscular strength improves your ability to maintain control while making quick adjustments while skiing or boarding in uneven terrain. All the major muscle groups of the body, especially the core, are used for skiing and snowboarding. Some exercises include a single leg squat or weighted quadriceps squat. Pilates or yoga would be a good complement to muscle training to increase core strength, maintain better balance, and improve overall flexibility.

 • Sledding  Some people underestimate the difficulty level of even the most basic of winter sports. Sledding is often viewed as child’s play, but it is a fun activity for all ages. However, just pulling your sled up that big hill is a fitness feat that often gets overlooked. Cardio endurance and leg strengthening exercises can help prepare for a day of sledding with the family. Playing in the snow can be very beneficial to your health. Your quality time spent in the health club doing your winter sports conditioning will be well worth it when the first snow falls.

 • Cross-Country Skiing  This is a great cardiovascular workout! Like most cardio-related sports, endurance training is a must. To prepare for this fun winter sport, train with your favorite cardio exercises that are appropriate for your impact level. The elliptical is a great option for low impact and can be adjusted for almost every fitness level.

 • Ice Skating  Balance is a really important factor in participating in ice skating. Whether it is figure skating or a hockey game you enjoy, without balance, there would be no skating. Depending on your level of expertise, flexibility would also be beneficial. Hockey players need to be flexible and agile, as well as graceful figure skaters. Bosu® balls would be a great training tool to warm up those muscles that have been hiding, while also improving balance.

Winter may be the most awaited season of the year. There are so many activities to partake in, so being physically ready will make for a fun season. Taking time to condition and prepare for the season will help us to not miss out on the fun adventures of the many sports activities that entice us, entertain us, and of course keep us fit.

 

Paula and Dale Reece own Crossroads Fitness Centers in Grand Junction with a downtown location in the Alpine Bank Building at 225 N. Fifth St. and an airport location at 2768 Compass Drive. For more information, call 242-8746 or log on to www.crossroadsfitness.com.
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