Most of us skiers and riders are just as active or more in the summer months as we are in the winter months. We feel fall creep in, the temperatures drop, and the excitement of the season makes us yearn for that first day back on the slopes.
Let's not forget we need to get fit in order to feel good on snow. Mountain and road biking, hiking, and trail running may have our conditioning levels high, but when it comes to firing up those ski/ride legs, nothing can do it quite like being on snow. That's why we need to do exercises that will mimic skiing and riding as closely as possible.
Personal trainers are proving we can do just as much or more outside of the gym in order to attain our fitness goals. The natural elements of the outdoors provide an added challenge - and fun -- to workouts. Focus on some of these tips next time you're out hiking, walking, or running errands.
Add lunges to your steps as you hike or walk. Bring your bending leg out far enough so your knee will not pass your toes when you lunge. Lower slowly and controlled to 90 degrees or just above and push off evenly from both feet as you rise forward back to standing. Keep your back straight, your hands on your hips, chest out and shoulders pushing back and downward.
Be extra conscious of the way your quadriceps and hamstrings are engaging as you descend from your hike. Focus on the legs lowering you down against gravity. This is as close to the gravity relationship with skiing/riding as you're going to get. Make sure your feet are landing straight in front of you, your heel striking first followed by your toes. This will activate your ankles, shin, and calf muscles.
Choose to walk or take the stairs on your next urban outing. Parking farther away from the store will save your car doors from dings while engaging your leg muscles. The stairs always will benefit you over the elevator.
Be conscious of your foot placement and muscle engagement with every step you take, just like with lunges,. Make your hamstrings work with your quadriceps while lifting you from stair to stair. Keep the knee behind the foot and the foot pointing straight ahead. Skip a stair for an extra challenge while keeping the same focus in mind.
You train your brain how to engage a group of muscles to work together by being aware of your alignment during daily routines. These simple tips with help prepare your body for the challenge you'll be putting it through the first days back on snow.