As excited as we all get to hop on the lift and hit the slopes, we need to remember that warming-up can make your experience on the hill feel better on your body and it can save you from potential injuries.
So, what does warming-up mean and how can you do it next time you want to exercise?
Warming-up can be anything that gets your heart-rate up, meaning your heart is beating a little faster than it does when you are just going through your day. By warming-up, you are letting your body know that you are about to exercise, you are reducing your risk of injury and you are improving your coordination and range of motion in your joints.
Start with a 5-10 minute warm-up that utilizes the muscles that you will use in your exercise activity. Start out slowly and increase your intensity and speed until your body turns warm, literally. Some examples of warm-up exercises for snow sports that will reflect your movements and muscles being used on the slopes include:
Knee Lifts - These can be done either standing up or lying down. Slowly and smoothly, bend your knees up towards your chest. Hold the position for a few seconds. Return gently to the starting position and repeat the exercise.
Heel Raises - Place your feet shoulder-width apart with your knees slightly bent. Raise your heel off the ground by pushing up with your toes. Make sure that your toes remain on the ground, but that the heels of your feet have lifted up so that you feel your calf muscles working.
Ab Twists - This exercise is similar to a sit-up, with a twist! Lie on your back, have your hands placed behind your head so that your arms are bent at the elbow and your palms are resting on the back of your head. Keep your knees bent and lift up your mid-section as if you were doing a sit-up. When you reach the peak of the sit-up, twist your abs to either the right or the left. Repeat and twist to the opposite side each time.
Squats - Stand with your feet hip-width apart, your toes facing forward and slowly bend your knees as if you were going to sit in a chair. Keep your torso straight and your abs nice and tight. The important thing to remember with squats is that you want to keep your knees behind your toes, this way you are really using your glutes and hamstrings to execute the maneuver.
Once you are warm and feeling good about getting your heart-rate up, take a few minutes and stretch your main muscles (hamstrings, arms and calves) because it increases your reaction time and agility. You should hold each stretch for 10-15 seconds to get the most out of your efforts. Now, get out there and enjoy the day!
Content courtesy of SnowSports Industries America | SIA and Snowlink.com.