Absolutely! Skiing is a very physical sport, which can put strain on your joints for the duration of the exercise. So if you are a fan of alpine ski, snowboard, cross-country ski, monoski and if you don’t want to end up on a sledge for the remaining of your holidays (or worse, in a cast), preparing yourself physically before sliding down the hills can have a preventive effect against the aches, sprains, etc.
Before clipping on skis:
1) Do some hopping! The temperature outside is freezing so muscles and joints need to be heated up to avoid sprains. Your heartbeat rate will speed up so you’ll be more awake and aware of your surroundings.
2) Warm up your low back!
- Standing straight, feet slightly apart, grab your elbows and gently rotate your torso to the left, then to the right, as if want to look behind you.
- Then, lift your left arm over your head and lean on your right side until you feel a good stretch on your left side.
- Repeat five times on each side.
3) Unlock your knees! Sprained knees are the most common injuries in skiing so you must pay extra attention to these joints.
- Standing straight, feet together, bend forward to put your hands on your knees, then slowly bend your knees towards the right, then to the left.
- Secondly, squat down, keeping the back straight, and rise up each time until your legs are straight.
- Repeat fifteen times on each side.
4) Stretch your legs!
- Standing straight, bend your left knee and grab your left foot from behind your back with your right hand. Balancing on the right leg, pull your left foot towards the right buttocks. Keep this position 7-10 seconds, change side and repeat five times.
- After, still standing up, bend the right knee and keep the left leg straight. Bend the knee straight until you feel the left back thigh muscles stetch. It’s easier to feel if you lean over your right thigh. Keep this position 7-10 seconds, return to initial position, change side and repeat five times.
5) Let’s not forget the upper limbs! As soon as you are stuck in the queue to get a hot beverage or waiting for the chairlift, make small circles with your wrists, wiggle your fingers, move your arms around…
And of course, after having rolled down the last track and taken the skis off, stretch gently each part of your body, legs and arms for about 10 seconds, breathing deeply. This will avoid the aches tomorrow and reduce any muscle tension.
If any pain persists for a few days, or if you have suffered a violent fall, don’t hesitate to consult your osteopath for a check-up. I recommend wearing helmets, especially for children to avoid any head trauma.