If you're younger than the age of 21 you probably don't need to do a lot to get ready to hit the slopes now that ski and snowboard season is with us. But if you're older you may need a lot of work to keep your thighs from burning on those long downhill runs.
The ski magazines always offer a fine assortment of ski and snowboard exercises, but these are often complicated and designed for those planning downhill racing. We asked a physical therapist about getting in shape for the hill. Craig McEwan at Silver State Fitness Center offered ideas:
• Flexibility: Flex is what you do most of the time on the hill. Skiing and riding are lateral sports, so flex is what allows you to work laterally. (I found this out when last season my right knee was hurting but skiing didn't bother it; that's when Doc Edmunds at the Tahoe Fracture Clinic explained that the skiing involved lateral knee movement, so the lack of meniscus in the knee didn't matter.)
• Strength and endurance: This is vital. If the knees are OK, then long outdoor runs work for endurance, although many people don't have the time for that. Wall sits are good for the quads, either with a Swiss ball or just sinking to thighs level with the floor.
• Stability and balance: These abilities keep you off the snow and running. The mini trampoline works on these areas nicely.
• Power and quickness: Jump up on the toes or jump up on boxes. If boxes are too high for you, find something lower that fits your abilities.
Because there is lots of ground to cover, we asked Brent Pedan and McEwan helped out as well. These are all designed to be done in the home with a minimum investment in gear. Whatever you have to buy you can use year-round just to keep the blood pumping away.
You can even involve others in your routines. The ball toss needs someone to throw it back, so a spouse or friend can join in. A teen can help with the more difficult movements by showing you how to do it.
While these exercises are not too demanding, you should check with your health care professional before getting too deeply involved. Unless you're going to go for the Ironman, these should be enough for the days on the hill.
Incidentally, the Ironman Series starting Nov. 21 at the Carson Aquatic Facility is another way to maintain your snow sport capabilities. It's only $10 and you can do it all on your own time. (I'm going to give it a go, bad knee and all.)
Contact Sam Bauman at 881-1236 or Sbauman@nevadaappeal.com.