Skiing is a favoured pastime for many people, and no matter what’s going on in the world, many of us will seek out the slopes each ski season. But the sport can also be tough on your body, sometimes resulting in muscle fatigue, injury, and general pain that can cut short your ski day (or even ski holiday). So, here are 4 ways to stay on the slopes longer and keep yourself safe and pain-free.
1. GET A SKI BODY
Skiing puts a lot of strain and stress on the legs and lower back, so your first order of business should be to strengthen those areas to prepare for long days on the trails. To do so, you can try a blend of isometric (long contraction and relaxation), isotonic (short contraction and relaxation), and plyometric (explosive) exercises.
- Box jumps
- Jump squats
- Dead bugs
These will make your leg and core muscles far more resistant to fatigue, ensuring they can support your joints for longer. Remember, the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) most commonly tears due to its supportive leg muscles fatiguing and quitting while you ski, causing the tibia and fibula to slide too far apart.
Learn more: Cruciate Ligament Tear - Treatment & Prevention
2. WEAR A BRACE
While skiing, it's a good bet to provide some extra support for the most at-risk body parts. That means a Sports Back Brace for the lumbar and The SofTec Genu for the knees.
Both have compression knit fabric that will support blood flow and nutrient and oxygen delivery to hard-working tissues, making your muscles more resistant to fatigue and quicker to recover. They’ll also keep you nice and toasty when you’re sitting still on the ski lift.
The fabric also communicates directly with your muscles, activating them quicker and more efficiently, thus helping them work as better supports for your lumbar and knees.
The SofTec Genu is one of the best knee braces for skiing. It has the added benefit of special hinges that work on both anatomic and mechanical points of movement. This means that not only is your knee joint unloaded on the anatomic points of your body, but mechanically you’re supported at every movement, which is ideal for skiing. The lightweight aluminium ensures that your knee joint is well protected if you have a bad stack, collide with another skier, or just have a bad landing.
The SofTec Genu also has a specially designed gel support that keeps the kneecap moving properly while also providing a massaging action on the patellofemoral tendon and lower quads using viscoelastic nodules. This also acts as a gentle shock absorber, reducing the stress placed on your cartilage and meniscus.
3. LISTEN TO YOUR MUSCLES
While strengthening exercises and a good brace will go a long way in fighting muscle fatigue, you should still take care to listen to your body while skiing. It can be hard to focus on minor muscle or joint aches when you’re speeding down a trail trying not to run into anyone. So instead, when you’re being pulled up on a catwalk or ski lift before another run, take stock of how you’re feeling.
If your muscles and joints are fine, you’re good to keep skiing. If your muscles feel wobbly or unstable, it’s best to take a break and get some hot food. But if you’re feeling pain in the knee or back or like your muscles are cramping or twitching, it's probably best to call it a day.
4. EAT PLENTY
Physical activity and cold weather eat up a lot of calories. So to stay on the slopes longer, make sure your energy input matches your energy output. When skiing, you can burn 300-600 calories per hour, depending on your weight, ski intensity, and how long you spend on the catwalk. Eating enough means your muscles will get the energy they need to keep going.
Additionally, eat a good mix of proteins, carbs, and fats.
- Proteins are essential to building and rebuilding muscle fibres
- Carbohydrates restore your glycogen, which is essentially your body’s energy store. With insufficient glycogen, your muscles will fatigue significantly faster, making you prone to injury.
- Fats are also an important source of energy, with some research suggesting they’re the body’s key energy source during moderate-intensity activity.
And last but not least, eat plenty of vitamins. Vitamin D can be hard to get in the winter, given the days are much shorter. On top of that, mountain weather isn’t always nice and sunny, and you’ll be bundled from head to toe in ski gear for many daylight hours. So, eat vitamin D-containing foods like fatty fish and take supplements just in case. Vitamin D is essential for muscle strength, so don’t go too long without it.
To sum up
To last longer on the slopes, you’ll need to wolf down plenty of food, get some supports, work on your strength, and pay attention to your body’s warning signs. These steps will help you make the most of your ski holiday and help you avoid any painful developments.
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Bauerfeind products are developed at our innovation and manufacturing facility in Zeulenroda, Germany. Based on years of scientific research, our award-winning braces and support garments are highly recommended by medical professionals and athletes worldwide.