In this the final post in the current Ski Fit 5 series I would like to concentrate on some more general tips rather than specific exercises. Most of the tips below may seem elementary but you would be surprised how many people neglect the simple things when on the annual ski trip and just push their body too hard. The body is a magnificent piece of machinery but we still have to look after it in order for it to function at an optimal level. Here’s how to keep your body in top shape on top of the mountain.
This may seem obvious but skiers and borders frequently suffer badly with dehydration when on the slopes. Drink plenty of water when you’re in the Chalet and stop at least once or twice a day for a drink (in addition to lunch). Packing a small water bottle to take with you is also a good idea if you want to make the most of your time on the hill.
Listen to your body – recognise fatigue
Many skiing injuries, particularly with recreational skiers and boarders, are closely related to fatigue. Fatigue is a natural by-product of not skiing for most of the year and then fitting 12 months worth into 1 week. Although this is completely natural it does mean that the chance of injury increases considerably. When you are fatigued your reaction times will suffer and you will be more likely to make mistakes on the snow. You will also be more at risk of overuse injuries.
The best way to manage this is to recognise it early and act accordingly. If you notice the signs of fatigue then either stop for a decent lunch and a break, or call it a day early. Also, if you are skiing for a week or longer, consider taking a rest day in the middle. You will be surprised how much difference it will make.
Get a decent night’s sleep (or as close to decent as possible)
Following on from the previous point, one the best ways to manage fatigue is to get a good night’s sleep. This again tends to be more of an issue for those on the annual ski trip. Combined with pushing your body hard during the day on the slopes, the temptation may be to play just as hard in the evenings. This is all well and good, however staying out until the wee hours of the morning and then getting up early to hit the hill will adversely affect your performance and also markedly increase your risk of injury. It is important to get a good 7-8 hours of sleep per night while skiing to allow adequate time for the body to rest and recuperate.
Get the right kit
As with any sport, having the right equipment in skiing and snowboarding is a major factor in the prevention of injury. This doesn’t mean you have to go out and get the top of the range gear, it just means there are several key aspects to be considered when buying or hiring equipment.
The most important of all is comfortable ski/board boots. Ill-fitting boots are a major contributing factor to injuries on the slopes. Too loose and your foot is moving around in the boot, which means diminished control. Too tight means discomfort, pain and damage to the skin, all of which can ruin your skiing experience in themselves, as well as leading to compensations in your technique which can result in greater injury. When hiring boots, take your time to make sure they fit properly, and if they are uncomfortable at any point, go back the shop and change them out. If you hit the slopes regularly I recommend investing in your own pair of boots, although when doing this, do your research and try a range of boots to get the perfect fit for you.
A good pair of socks is also, perhaps surprisingly, one of the most of important pieces of equipment for comfort and injury prevention on the slopes. You can have the best boots in the world but if you don’t have decent socks you can still get a lot of rubbing, blisters and pain in the feet.
Lastly, make sure you have a decent pair of goggles. Many an injury on the slopes could have been easily prevented if the skier or boarder could see where they were going!
Do the #SkiFit5 exercises!
The Ski Fit 5 exercises are designed to be simple, effective exercises that don’t require a gym or a great amount of time to do. By going through the #SkiFit5 programme you can not only help prevent your risk of injury on the slopes but can also maximise performance, which ultimately means you will also maximise your enjoyment and really get the most out of your winter sport.
If you are preparing for a ski trip following an injury or you are looking for more specific advice and an individualised exercise programme, click HERE to book a Ski Fit Assessment with Bespoke Physiotherapy Covent Garden.
Should the worst happen and you do suffer an injury on the slopes, the Ski Fit network has associate practices in many major resorts in Europe, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. We also have clinics in London and Perth Australia to look after you when you get home. The team at Bespoke Physiotherapy Covent Garden offer the highest level of care for skiing and boarding injuries and are expert in the key area of injury prevention.
Finally, now that Spring is upon us here in the Northern Hemisphere, many people are increasing their running programmes and signing up for their next running Challenge. With this in mind Bespoke Physiotherapy is releasing a series of blogs on injury prevention in runners. Keep an eye out in the coming weeks for the Run Fit 5 Series! #runfit5