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How to ski, injury-free

by , health and fitness expert (see my photos below)

Preventing ski injuries is not something you begin doing when you arrive at the ski resort. It is something you do consistently, all year long. These ten tips will allow you to be in shape for skiing without spending your life at the gym.

  1. Get flexible. You need to stretch your back, groin, hamstrings, calves, and thighs on a regular basis. Never bounce, never force a stretch.
     
  2. Strengthen your back. Forget doing bench presses. Work your back, instead. At our fitness store, you can get expert consultation on how to do this. The foundation exercises include squats and rows. Most people do these incorrectly.
     
  3. Strengthen your knees. Squats, if done properly, help. Leg extensions help. Leg curls help. Just don't do the same exercises all the time.
     
  4. Strengthen your shins. Don't just work your calves and think you will automatically have strong shins. You'll need to work the other direction, as well. Sitting at your desk (or on the toilet) with your feet flat on the floor, slowly raise your toes as high as they will go. You'll feel this in your shins. Do these until you get a good burn, and do them twice a week. You won't ever get shin splints again.
     
  5. Strengthen your ankles. While sitting at your desk, rotate your ankles in every direction they will go. This will help, but you'll get tired of doing it. The best way to strengthen your ankles is to go for a walk, twice a week, on rough terrain. Sandy beaches work well. See the next tip for another way to strengthen your ankles.
     
  6. Gain balance. Stand on one leg, and raise the other off the floor. The higher you raise it, the better the exercise. Try to make it harder. Hold the leg up for a full minute. Close your eyes. Here's a hard one, from the author's 4th degree blackbelt exam: Hold the toes of the "up" leg and straighten the leg in front of you, and raise it overhead; now, pivot on your supporting foot and rotate clockwise for one revolution; then rotate counterclockwise until you are back where you started; repeat 7 time and then repeat on other leg--if you can do this, you have strong ankles and good balance.
     
  7. Lose the jelly belly. For solid advice on how to do this, visit www.supplecity.com.
     
  8. Don't starve your disks and cartilage. Want to know how to destroy cartilage? Smoke cigarettes. Those little bringers of male impotency and cancer also reduce blood flow to connective tissue. Tobacco is a vasoconstrictive drug. Your connective tissues already have a poor blood supply. Making blood even less available raises the prospect of damage.
     
  9. Watch your posture. Most people don't stand up straight. Pull your shoulders back, instead of hunching over. When your posture is perfect, you will see a positive and major change in the way other people deal with you. Just be sure to wear a smile, too, so you don't look pompous.
     
  10. Learn to walk. It's true--most people do not walk. They fall forward, and catch themselves with each step. You should be able to walk on any slippery surface without falling. Martial artists learn to do this by keeping the upper body balanced over the hips and having a posture that keeps everything in alignment. This is something you need personal coaching on, if you have not learned it. When you walk this way, also, you won't hear the thudding or slapping of your feet on the floor or ground. That thudding is a sign you are damaging your feet. Learn to walk, instead of fall. Places to learn include martial arts schools, dance schools, and a chiropractor's office. Roller skating and ice skating can help with this, too. 


 
 
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