How to ski, injury-free
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.
- Get flexible. You need to stretch your back, groin, hamstrings, calves, and thighs on a regular basis. Never bounce, never force a stretch.
- 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.
- Strengthen your knees. Squats, if done properly, help. Leg extensions help. Leg curls
help. Just don't do the same exercises all the time.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Lose the jelly belly. For solid advice on how to do this,
see our other articles.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.