This season, our physiotherapist at Sage Wellness wants to make sure you are conditioned and caring for your body when partaking in winter sports such as snowboarding and alpine skiing. This February edition will cover essential tips and stretches to help you stay healthy and to prevent injury on the slopes!
Warm-Up & Dynamic Stretch (15 minutes)
The most appropriate time to perform your pre-boarding/ski regime is BEFORE getting on the ski lift. The purpose of the warm-up (5-10 minutes) is to get your blood pumping and flowing to all the muscles and organs in the body. An example of a warm up for beginners would be a short walk or jog. For those who are more experienced with snowboarding/skiing, an easy run may be more suitable. If the chairlift takes more than 5 minutes, a short walk at the top of the hill before attaching your gear to descent is a good idea to maintain your blood flow!
Dynamic stretching occurs AFTER the warm-up while your muscles are warm, and before putting stepping into your snowboard/skis. You want to start performing stretches slowly, with low intensity, and then gradually increase the intensity and speed of each stretch by controlling the range of movement with your muscles. Do not use momentum of the movement to perform the stretch. These stretches should be pain-free with a feeling of light resistance in your muscles. Perform 10-15 repetitions of each stretch!
2) Trunk Rotation
3) Arm Circles
For experiences boarders and skiers:
4) Double leg jumps 45 degrees out to each side
5) Single Leg Hops 45 degrees out to each side
Cool Down & Static Stretch (15 minutes)
It’s important to have a proper cool down regime for both your muscles and your cardiovascular system by returning the body to its resting state. This allows waste products such as lactic acid to be removed from the muscles and prevent Delayed
Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS), as well as preventing symptoms of dizziness or fainting post-exercise.
Examples of cool down activities include:
Slowing down the intensity of snowboarding/ skiing in your last few runs
Take an easy slope for the last run or
5-10 minute walk
Now you can do the static stretches right in time before your muscles have completely cooled off! Again, stretches should be performed without pain. You should feel light resistance of your muscles at the end of its range in each stretch.
Hold each stretch for 30 seconds with 3-4 repetitions. Do not bounce while stretching!
1) Calf stretch (Gastrocnemeus)
2) Calf stretch (Soleus)
3) Quadriceps 4) Hamstrings
5) Groin 6) Glutes (external rotators)
7) Glutes (internal rotators) 8) Back and Abdominals
9) Trunk Rotation 10) Anterior Shoulders
Before you head to the slopes, don’t forget some key items! Besides your ski and snowboarding equipment, here are a few extra items you should consider to make sure your body is protected!
Helmet: Make sure your helmet fits your head and once fastened, the helmet should not move around when you turn your neck. If your helmet is old, check to see if it’s designed for single-impact or multi-impact use. It is worth the investment for a new helmet if you’re unsure of the structural integrity (damage to the interior shell may sometimes not be visible on the helmet).
Sunglasses or Goggles: Eye protection should be worn for all weather conditions because you will be exposed to UV light from above and from its reflection off the snow. Choose a pair of 100% UV protection sunglasses for milder conditions, or goggles for snow, wind or rain conditions.
Clothing: Three layers are required as both weather conditions and your body temperature fluctuates with activity and while waiting on the chair lift.
1) Base layer: top and bottom thermal underwear
2) Insulating layer: wool, fleece, polypropylene or fibre-pile sweater
3) Protective layer: top and bottom, wind resistant and waterproof
Hydration: Keeping yourself hydrated will help your brain stay alert while skiing/snowboarding, help prevent muscle cramping during activity and facilitate a fasterrecovery post-exercise. Before getting on the hill, it is recommended to drink 300-400mL of water (ref: http://www.ausport.gov.au/sportscoachmag/nutrition2/pre-event_nutrition) and 250mL every 20 minutes of activity until 1 hour post-exercise. A hydration pack is useful but not required; you can always have a water break in between chair lift trips!