TO GET ON THE MOUNTAIN
By Bill Gould, Snow Sports School Director
Getting fit now can make a huge difference on how well you'll ski or ride when you hit the slopes the first day. If you haven't started your preseason fitness program yet, don't worry, there's still time. Eight weeks should be enough time to improve your overall fitness, but more is better here. Training for skiing and riding should target general fitness, muscular flexibility, strength and endurance. (As always, check with your Physician before starting a fitness program). Let's get started
TAKE A HIKE! If you are just getting off the couch, start by walking 25-45 min. (2-3 times a week).Walking is great exercise and when you add some pace to your walking the benefits are even greater. Once your walking routine becomes too easy you"ll need to take it up a notch. Hiking is next on the agenda. Hiking trails present a greater challenge with irregular surfaces and elevation gain. Hiking trails in the mountains surrounding Santa Fe offer plenty of up-hill, going to strengthen your legs and build up your lungs.
ENDURANCE CONDITIONING! Train your body to deliver oxygen to the working muscles. Bike riding and running are my favorite aerobic activities because they take you outdoors. But, if you are pressed for time treadmills and stationary bikes are good substitues. Those of you just getting started should build slowly over the first few weeks. Work your way up to running 20-45 min. twice a week. Mountain biking can add fun and adventure to a workout routine. Like skiing, riding a bike on mountain trails requires that you look ahead and react to constantly changing terrain, it'll sharpen your reaction skills. (The advanced bike/run workout for those in good shape is to add intervall training to your routine. Interval training will push your limits and make you stronger.)
GENERAL FITNESS! General fitness should target the core muscles (abdominals) and the legs (quads, hamstrings and calf muscles). This can be accomplished in a variety of ways. You can do a lot at home with a few weights, a stability ball and a sport cord. Or join a fitness club, which is a good way to stay motivated and experienced trainers are available. Yoga classes and Pilates workouts are great ways to improve strenght and flexibility. Find the workout that will keep your interest. 20-30 min. 3 times a week. Allow a few extra minutes for stretching after each workout. Stretch the muscles after they are warm to avoid injury. (photo at left courtsey of CrossFit Alb.)
CROSS TRAINING! This is your playtime. Skiing/riding have things in common with other sports. The ability to move and react quickly is what you need on the slopes. Do activities that will improve your agility. Play tennis to improve "side to side" moves like those used while skiing/riding. a pick-up game of soccer can help to develope foot coordination used to contral your skis/board. In-line skates are a great cross-training tool. Find a place to set a dry-land slalom course, and practice your turns.
The key preseason fitness is to get started. It's not so important what you do, as long as you stay active and have fun. Keep in mind that your efforts now will pay dividends your first day back on the snow.
(photo at right courtsey of CrossFit Alb.)