"Skiing (and snowboarding) are jarring to joints, which are supported largely by the involuntary stabilizing muscles. Many people these days have sedentary jobs, largely sitting behind desks so these muscles become entirely de-conditioned. To take them from this state and put them through a gauntlet of new snow, for example, could result in some real damage," he said.
There are, of course, some benefits in working with a personal trainer in order to get the best conditioning options.
"With a trainer, you have someone who can see if there are any imbalances in the muscles or body. A trainer can then work with you on mobility, flexibility, core, legs and hopefully develop a balanced program to optimize performance," added Moore.
Moreover, said Krause, "A trainer can plan a program to meet the specific goals of an individual. Say, for example, an individual has a goal of skiing 100 days this ski season. We make sure we put down a program that will make that possible … a program that will reduce injuries, increase endurance, both muscular and cardiovascular, to a point where it's possible for that individual to get in 100 days."
Some fitness clubs do offer first-time visitors a onetime free session with a personal trainer. It is then up to the individual whether to continue with the trainer or work individually.
As noted, common everyday activities such as walking or climbing stairs help, as do biking and hiking. If possible, jogging is a good at-home exercise. Hiking downhill and walking on uneven ground is a good exercise for balance and strength.
The muscle group often neglected is the hamstring, according to Moore.
"Working the hamstring helps reduce the incidence of ACL injuries, which is the most common ski injury," he said. "It's important an individual have a well rounded program, not just working on quad strength. Make sure there's also core and hamstring strength exercises."
The mistake many make is they overload their bodies and try to get in shape in a few days rather than a few weeks. They train at a high intensity when it would be more beneficial to begin slowly, like simply taking a walk or climbing a few stairs, and then build up to a more intense program.
"For those who haven't had much exercise, I would suggest they start slowly and then begin to build up the fitness base and build strong muscles, ligaments and tendons over time and not try go do it in a day or two. They shouldn't try to do everything all at once," said Moore.
It is, of course, never too late to begin a conditioning program. Krause suggested spending 20 minutes a day, three days a week as a good start, based, of course, on age and prior conditioning, and on the advice of a doctor.
It is important not only to make sure there are strong muscles behind every turn, but it's also important that endurance play a part and the skier or snowboarder be able to repeat good, clean turns time after time after time.
In order to do that an individual must be willing to, say, take a walk or climb a few stairs or do a few lunges before visiting the slopes.
It will help in avoiding some of the more common injuries, such as anterior and posterior cruciate ligament (ACL/PCL) injuries, concussions, shoulder separations and dislocations, wrist fracture and sprains, and lower back pain.
Ray Grass is a freelancer, and former Deseret News outdoor editor and ski writer. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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