I’ll be honest; I live oceanfront and I am NOT a winter person. Sure, I can go to the gym to workout, and I do have a Spinning bike and weight bench in my house, but this year I’m going to try to face Old Man Winter and get some fresh air.
With that in mind, my advice to you is: think snow! Snowboarding is on the rise, along with snowshoeing, and of course skiing, sledding, and ice skating. Many of the same skills are used for all of these sports including balance, agility, coordination, leveraging body weight and cardiovascular ability.
A skillful snowboarder or skier, even an ice skater moves efficiently adjusting their body to maintain balance, turn, edge and steer. You must constantly move and adjust your body to a variety of consequences; equipment, terrain, snow or ice conditions, and obstacles including other participants.
Strength, cardiovascular training, and flexibility are also necessary skills and it looks like I’ll need further training in agility and coordination drills to improve my balance and reaction time. Injury is less of a risk when you’re properly prepared for your sport.
My strength training will be focused more on stabilization of the knees, ankles, hips, lower back, shoulders and wrists - joints which are crucial for being able to turn and steer, in addition to the small, corrective balancing adjustments. Quadriceps (the front of the thigh) should be strengthened as these muscles are often contracted for long periods of time during a down hill run. My core; the abdominal and back muscles, are also crucial since these are not only supportive but also generate most of the steering motion.
Flexibility is perhaps the most obvious fitness component needed for successful skiing, skating and snowboarding. Joints must be capable of quick changes in direction and the balancing moves necessary. Plus to withstand a tumble should I lose my balance, I’ll want my joints to be loose. Static stretches for the lower legs; quads and hamstrings, calves and ankles should be included, along with lower back stretches, hip flexors and wrists.
Most of all, I hope to dress warmly enough, in layers in case my activity raises my body temperature, and go out there and have FUN!
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