It’s that time of year when we all like to book our annual skiing trip. Whether it’s taking to the slopes in France, Switzerland or Whistler it is important to make sure your body is prepared! A few facts for you – based on 2015-2016 figures, lower leg injuries account for 20% of all skiing injuries with knee injuries account for a whopping 35% in total. The largest majority of injuries occurring in the 41-50 age category, closely followed by 51-60 and 21-30 with more injury occurrence in males! If you are interested, more information available here - https://www.sos.eu/en/nyheder/2016/statistics-on-skiing-injuries-2015-based-on-claims-data-from-sos-international/
So why does this affect me?
Skiing is a physically demanding activity and you want to get the best out of your time away so making sure your body is ready to cope with that demand is very important. Naturally we aren’t all lucky enough to ski regularly which means we don’t maintain our ‘ski fitness’. Don’t panic, just because you can’t get to the slopes every week doesn’t mean you are going to come back with a painful knee or should forgo your ski trip. There are definitely steps you can take to improve body condition and prepare for your trip. Maintaining a baseline level of general strength and condition can be one method, strength training regularly can improve lower limb or even whole-body strength. Exercises like squats or lunges with or without resistance (weight) maintain good muscle strength, mobility and can help coordination. Regular exercise that increases heart rate should be undertaken as per government guidelines. Current guidelines recommend a total of 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise (cycling, brisk walking, Zumba,) OR 75 minutes vigorous aerobic exercise (Running, spinning) combined with 2 strength sessions per week - https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/. Now while this can be difficult with daily life it can be a great way to remain active in the off season and enjoy your skiing holiday even more.
Okay so I already keep active, what else?
Having a previous injury is one of the highest predictors for future injury reoccurrence. Did you go skiing last year and comeback with a niggling injury in your knee? Did you have a fall on the slopes which left you with a sore back for a couple of weeks? Whilst most injuries go away and never come back it is often worth getting it checked out if it rears its head yea
r upon year. The body is a complex working system, it is like having your steering being out of alignment on your car, it still drives and works but it is not very efficient on tyres. Seeking physiotherapy advice can be quick and simple and help to put you back on track ready for your trip, so don’t ignore that niggle if it isn’t not going away!
So I’ve done all that – anything to do while I’m away?
While most of us would utilise a warm up when we go for a run or start a class at the gym, it is not common to see people stretching off before hitting the slopes. Skiing shouldn’t be any different, it is a sport after all! You wont need to do a 30 minute intense stretching routine before you don your boots but it might be worth have a gentle stretch when you get in après-ski the night before and just to prepare your body for the day ahead, try performing a few light squats and lunges to get your brain thinking about the movement and thinking more quickly, perhaps if you’ve enjoyed one too many in the bar!