The ski season is in full swing, which means lots of adrenaline-boosting runs, après-ski cocktails and annoying injuries.
If you're going to hit the slopes this year (if you haven't booked yet, don't panic, because most resorts stay open until April) now's the time to start preparing your body to prevent any pulled muscles and aching limbs.
Don't forget, you'll be carrying heavy skis, walking in ski boots and spending 20 minutes at a time squatting, so you need to be up to the challenge!
To help you get the most out of your ski holiday, Lorraine Warr, head of physiotherapy at Spire Bristol Hospital has some advice about things to consider...
1. How flexible are your ankles?
Think of the position your ankles in your ski boots. Having flexibility and length in your Achilles tendons will help to ease the strain.
A very simple way to stretch the Achilles is to stand on a step with the balls of your feet on the step and your heels over the edge. Gently lower yourself until you feel a stretch in the Achilles, hold for around 30 seconds and then release.
2. How strong are your thighs?
Working on squats will help, but skiing is all about stamina not just strength.
Try to find activities that involve holding a sustained squat position and balance. Performing squats on a 'BOSU' (half ball shape with a platform on) is a good example and will ensure that you hold the squat position for prolonged periods of time not simply a few seconds.
3. Is your upper body up to the challenge?
Upper body strength is important as shoulders do a lot of work when using ski poles - don't forget to include some upper body work in your gym programme, including weight lifting and some boxing moves.
4. How fit are you?
General fitness is also important – the better your all-round fitness the more stamina you will have on the slopes. A healthy heart and strong lungs will mean you can keep going on the slopes for longer. Spend some time working on your general heart health on the treadmill, cross trainer or rowing machine.
Take a look at our ski essentials guide to get your ready for the slopes...
Are you going skiing this winter? Let us know where you're jetting off to in the comments box below...
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