Skiing, snowboarding, skating and sledding are all great fun and wonderful exercise.
Before setting off to one of the snow clad winter resorts some sensible preparations will make these activities much more enjoyable as well as beneficial.
Thereâ€™s not much point in spending the first day of a winter sports vacation enjoying the skiing if the next day or two are spent with back pain and other aches and stiffness that can make any activity at best uncomfortable or at worst can keep you off the slopes.
Before you Ski, Prepare with the Right Kit
Winter sporting can be dangerous and a cardinal rule is to stay warm.
Easy enough when you are active but the cold can very quickly catch up on you even if you have worked up a sweat 5 minutes earlier.
Even the fittest canâ€™t keep going all day without a rest or some leisurely recreation. It is essential that you wear the right kit that will keep you warm throughout the day.
The correct winter sportswear is designed to allow proper freedom of movement that doesnâ€™t interfere with your enjoyment while still giving the necessary protection from the cold. This way your body will need less energy to stay warm and you will be able to expend more of your energy on enjoying your sport.
The correct ski equipment and accessories are also a safety must, one of the most important of which are good quality goggles that keep the intense glare reflected from snow from damaging your eyes.
Appropriate ski boots that are a good fit and comfortable, and wrist guards and a safety helmet are sensible safety precautions for snowboarders to take.
Train Before you Ski
The more tired you get the more your concentration suffers and muscles become increasingly slower and weaker to respond. Imagine that after a hard day on the slopes and you are getting really tired and stiffening up, so a rest before skiing back seems a good idea.
After a short time maybe the cold is just beginning to be noticeable so you set off. Something happens like you hit a half hidden broken branch or another skier cuts across in front of you without warning.
When you are fresh â€“ no problem but when you are tired, reactions and muscle response times are slowed down and, weaker with the result, you lose control and if you are unlucky break a leg or worse.
If you want to avoid the consequences of fatigue and get the most enjoyment and benefit from your valuable time on the slopes or ice start training at least 4 weeks before you go by targeting the muscles that control your skiing, snowboarding and skating.
Strength training exercises concentrating on the lower body and the legs are a priority.
Floor exercise such as sit-ups, leg presses etc. are good and press-ups will strengthen the arm muscles used when poling.
Building up stamina is also important so alternating jogging and sprinting on a daily run will get you there.
A well equipped commercial gym will have a variety of exercise machines that will have specific benefits for winter sports, a favorite being a cross-country ski simulator.
A half-hour on that and you know that you have been through a proper workout.
So be fit, take care and enjoy!!