Before going on a ski holiday it is wise to be as fit as possible. You need to be prepared for physical activity which may involve muscles and joints in positions that you do not normally use. For the beginner the first time on snow will mean falling down and getting up again, which can be demanding on muscles that are unused. Without some exercise preparation beforehand, it is possible to become stiff and ache all over after only a couple of days into a holiday. While it is not necessary to train as if going in for a marathon, making the effort to get into some reasonable physical shape reduces the risk of strains and becoming over-tired.
The exercise programme suggested here is designed to cover both a general body tone-up and simulated exercises of the common movements made in skiing. Supplemented by the awareness of a healthy diet, a simple exercise programme (including regular cycling, walking, jogging or swimming) will benefit everyone and make your ski holiday more enjoyable.
• Arm stretch – stand upright with knees and feet together. With palms facing up, stretch arms sideways. Swing arms back and hold. Relax and repeat several times.
• Knees bend – in the same position as arm stretch, and keeping feet on floor, bend and rise gently several times. Try to bend lower each time, keeping back straight.
Thighs alive – sit with back flat against a wall, knees bent at right angles. Hold position for 30 seconds. Increase time as your strength builds.
• Leg raising – sit in a chair and hold the underside of it firmly with both hands. Raise your legs until horizontal and hold. Lower them gently.
• Squat jumps – in the half squat position, jump forward, back and then to either side.
• Arm and body circles – with the feet apart, circle arms slowly forward from shoulder, then repeat with arms going backwards. With hands at side revolve upper body, followed by hip circles, as with hoop.
• Back exercise – lie face down on the floor with arms clasped behind you. Pull your upper body into an arched position and hold for a few seconds. Relax and repeat three times.
• Deep knee side press – alternate side to side, press both knees right and left rolling over on the soles of the feet.
• Snowplough knee press – feet apart, toes in, press down on alternate legs, stretching up to change over. Hands on hips.
Stretching exercises on the snow:
• Trunk twist to right and left – hold poles together behind shoulders, twist to face the side steadily.
• Alternate leg slide and stretch – push alternate knee forward as a stretching slide, reach forward and back with opposite arm action.
• Turn and reach down – Skis well apart, arms out to the side, twist and reach down, right hand to touch left boot, left hand to right boot.
• Side-step up a few metres, then begin your skiing by vigorously bouncing in the turns, or using a quick stepping movement from ski to ski.