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Effective skiing warm ups

Skiing vacations are all about getting out on the piste, eating great food and having fun. There’s always the fear that an injury on the slopes can end the trip on a sour note. Louise Allison, owner of Bonne Santé in Val d’Isère, gives some of her tips on effective warm up routines to help prevent injuries. 

Over to Louise to tell us the best pre-skiing warm ups:

Pre–skiing, a dynamic warm up lasting 10-15 minutes is best. The idea is to prepare your muscles for what you are going to be doing. There are lots of options here and this list is not exhaustive.

The research behind static stretching is still very unclear, so we recommend static stretching after a day on the slopes as part of your cool down, rather than before. Ideally as pre-ski preparation, start by doing an easy, gentle warm up ski run. Then, kick off your skis and enter into the ‘ministry of funny walks’, a series of dynamic warm up exercises. Start with low intensity movements and gradually build up the pace.

  • Stand on one leg and support yourself with your poles. Gently swing the other leg back and forth. Try and keep your upper body upright. This exercise will help to stretch your hamstrings, gluteal muscles and hip flexors. Aim for 20 – 30 reps on each side.
  • Repeat this same exercise, but this time swing your leg across the front of your body. This will warm up the hip and gluteal area.  Aim for 20 reps on each leg.
  • Step kick your buttocks. Step forward on one leg and on the other side kick your heel towards your buttock.  You should feel a stretch in your quadriceps muscles, on the front of the thigh.  Aim for 20 – 30 reps on each side.
  • Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and lower yourself so your thighs are parallel to the ground.  Aim for 20 reps.
  • You can use your poles to help stabilise yourself.  Aim for x 10 reps on each side.
  • Side lunges.
  • Heel walks. Again, use your poles to stabilise yourself and try walking on your heels for 60 seconds.  This will help to stretch your calf

Don’t neglect your upper body in the warm up.  Try some shoulder shrugs, arm rotations and side leans to increase the blood flow to your torso and upper limbs.

Any other useful hints and tips to help prevent injuries on the pistes?

  • Think about your cool down and recovery, as well as your warm up. Spend some time doing some static stretches when you get back to your chalet. Particularly focus on your quadriceps and calf muscles:
  • If you feel tired, rest.  Fatigue is the biggest reason that injuries occur on the pistes. Have a massage or go for a swim. Both can help to relieve sore muscles.
  • Try and stay well hydrated. The air is extremely dry at altitude and when you are skiing, you will lose fluid through sweating, even on the coldest of days. Good hydration is important to help your muscles recover, replenish and reduces fatigue.
  • Eat a balanced diet, including a balance of protein and carbohydrates as well as fresh fruit and vegetables.

Bonne Santé has operated in Val d’Isère for 21 years and has played a part in helping skiers get back to health and stay healthy. To book a treatment with Bonne Santé, call +33 (0)4 79 06 07 27 or speak to your Scott Dunn chalet manager in resort. 

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