When leaves fall and days shorten, some people look begrudgingly at the changing seasons. But others are filled with anticipation as their favorite winter activities loom closer.
It’s important for winter sports enthusiasts to train and do specific conditioning exercises. After the spring and summer off season, muscles could need time to adjust. Starting off the winter season with an injury would put a damper on the fun. It’s important to do sport specific conditioning to reduce the risk of injury and increase performance and enjoyment.
Skiing and snowboarding: Conditioning for these sports involves a variety of physical skills, including agility, balance, endurance, flexibility and strength. Muscular strength improves your ability to maintain control while skiing or boarding in uneven terrain. All the major muscle groups of the body, especially the core, are involved. Some exercises include a single leg squat or weighted quadriceps squat. Pilates or yoga offer a good compliment to muscle training to increase core strength, maintain better balance and improve overall flexibility.
Sledding: Some people underestimate the difficulty of this most basic of winter sports. While sledding is often viewed as child’s play, it’s a fun activity for all ages. But just pulling your sled up that big hill constitutes a fitness feat that’s overlooked. Cardio endurance and leg strengthening exercises can help prepare for a day of sledding with the family.
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 appropriate for your impact level. The elliptical is a great option for low impact and can be adjusted for almost every fitness level. Crossroads Fitness offers SkiErg machines that replicate the motion of cross-country skiing and target the muscles used for this sport. The machines are popular for their ability to work legs, core and arms in a smooth, continuous motion.
Ice skating: Balance constitutes an important factor in ice skating. Whether it’s figure skating or a hockey game, there’s no skating without balance. Depending on your expertise, flexibility also could be beneficial. Figure skaters and hockey players must be flexible and agile. Bosu balls offer a great training tool to warm up those muscles while also improving balance.
Hiking: While some may think this is an activity for seasons other rather than winter, hiking remains a good option most days in the Grand Valley. Wear warm layers and bring hiking poles to make the trek more enjoyable.
Winter could be the most awaited time of the year with so many activities in which to partake. Preparing physically will make the season all the more fun. Make time for training and conditioning exercises so you won’t miss out on the adventures that entice us, entertain us and keep us fit.