As the days shorten and nights get colder, the Queens birthday weekend seems not too far away, and the authors of this article are excited. Why? SNOW SEASON is almost upon us!
What better way to spend a Sunday afternoon that sitting in below zero temperatures as the lift whisks you to the top of the summit … like a small child eagerly awaiting the arrival of Santa Clause to race to the bottom only to do it all again. The excitement is palpable… BUT this day should not come without preparation.
In Victoria between 2004 and 2006 there were 1404 hospital treated injuries, 817 of these were hospital admissions and 587 emergency department presentations related to snow sports. A staggering 75% of all reported injuries were from falls. And for those keen snowboarders out there such as these authors… 58% of them were our kind! (www.monash.edu.au/muyarc/visu)
So how do we reduce the likelihood of adding to these statistics and cutting our season short? Simple – preparation! By carrying out a set of specifically designed regular exercises and ensuring our bodies are in the best condition to tackle the tough terrain the mountain can throw at you.
Falls occur in everyday life but on the slopes they occur more frequently. On snow we require more balance, strength and endurance to last the day and not slip and fall on the way home. Some basic preparation of your body can help you make turns, survive the day and still have the leg strength to walk to the car, or chalet, at the end of the day. And do it all again the next day.
Below are a few home based exercises which will suit both skiers and snowboarders.
Like all exercise programs you should consult a health professional before starting.
Some exercises may not be suitable for all people.
The Squat & The Lunge
Both these exercises are good general strength exercises for the thighs and gluteal muscles.
Swiss Ball Squats
Great for the gluteal and thigh muscles.
Pilates Side Bridge Beginner
Great for general trunk strengthening and postural trunk control
Pilates Side Bridge Advanced
Great for advanced trunk strengthening and postural trunk control
Swiss Ball – Four Point Kneel
This advanced exercise improves reactive control and balance of the lower limbs and trunk.
Swiss Ball Seated Straight Leg Lift
This exercise helps improve trunk and leg balance and muscle control.
Swiss Ball Calf Raises
Helps strengthen the lower leg/calf musculature.
Really important but make sure your muscles are warm before stretching.
Swiss Ball Windscreen Wipers
This exercise is effective for strengthening the trunk and the groin muscles in a rotational direction similar to that required during turns.
Our team of practitioners at Stay Tuned Sports Medicine is highly qualified and experienced in treating snow injuries and designing exercise programs to help prevent them. Some of our therapists have worked with ski and snowboard teams here in Australia and overseas. They can complete a full assessment and analysis of your strengths and weaknesses and then design a specific personal exercise program for you to maximise performance and minimise the risk of injury. Remember there is no substitute for good preparation.
And remember, if you don’t starting skiing/ snowboarding this year, you’ll be another year older when you do.
See you all out on the slopes!