With COVID restrictions easing, and the prospect of winter ski holidays getting closer by the day, at HLM Sports Therapy we’ve started to see an increase in patients looking to be in top condition ready for their trip. If you have recently returned and are feeling a bit sore, or are counting down the days until you are heading to the slopes and looking for some top tips to get the most out of your holiday, then this post is for you!
Get “ski fit”, this doesn’t mean you need to be able to run a marathon, but a few simple exercises done daily in the lead up to your holiday can work wonders for your skiing fitness. Poor fitness is one the most common factors contributing to injury whilst skiing. Endurance, strength, balance and co-ordination are the areas of fitness that you will need the most whilst skiing. Just by adding squats, lunges, side planks and mountain climbers to your day will help to develop these components of fitness.
You may not think it’s the ‘coolest’ thing to do, but wear a helmet! As is the case in many other sports, head injuries and concussion are becoming an increasing area of concern to healthcare professionals. Whilst wearing one may not prevent a head injury all together, it will go a long way in reducing the severity of injury if you are unfortunate enough to take a hit to the head. If you still need convincing that you should be wearing a helmet, and the lower injury risk isn’t enough for you, they also help to keep your head warm, keep your goggles in place, and give you more confidence when you’re out on the slopes- especially if you’re relatively new to snow sports!
Pacing yourself is vital if you want to be able to enjoy each and every day of you ski holiday. Start on easier slopes and give yourself time to get familiar with the conditions on the mountain, take breaks if you’re feeling tired or hungry, and make sure you keep hydrated– most ski resorts are at a higher altitude than here in the UK, making you dehydrate a lot quicker than you are used to. By fuelling your body right, your ability to make decisions won’t be diminished.
Don’t underestimate the importance of a good night’s sleep every day. You may not feel like you need it for the first few days, but skiing every day will soon catch up with you!
It sounds obvious but keep warm! I can’t emphasise enough how many times I’ve heard of patients going out in minimal layers because when they left their hotel at the base of the mountain it’s been warm and sunny, and then find that it isn’t- as you go up the mountain it’s likely to get cooler, and more exposed to the wind and elements! Keeping your muscles warm is vital to prevent strains and tears. Layer up- it’s better to start off with more layers than you need, than to be cold!
Recovery after all that skiing is just as important as looking after yourself whilst you are away. Snow sports work muscles that many of us don’t use day-to-day and if you aren’t “ski fit” you will ache after just a day or two on the slopes.
Stretching is one of the most effective ways you can help your body recover. It helps to remove areas of tension, as well as increasing blood flow to the area, allowing muscles to recover. Sports massages can also be highly beneficial in the period of recovery after snow sports. Focus should be placed around the muscles which are used the most- typically the knees and lower back.
Whilst you are away, an ice bath each night is likely to be the most effective at allowing your muscles to recover ready for the following day. Having a bath at normal tap temperature (8-10 degrees) will help to slow down the build-up of inflammation and speed up the recovery process. Two sessions of 5 minutes, with a period in between to warm up is recommended.
If you would like an extra helping hand getting yourself ready for you upcoming ski trip, or recovery upon your return contact us. This blog post is not designed to replace a complete medical assessment. Should you experience any pain or discomfort stop the activity and consult a healthcare professional.