Exercises Before Skiing?

Q. Every year I go skiing. I’m 45 and was wondering if I should do certain exercises in advance to reduce my chances of injury.

A. Skiing is a wonderful, thrilling sporting activity that requires great balance, strength and endurance. When you only ski occasionally, it’s very wise to maximize your readiness prior to hitting the slopes. To do this, I would focus on three concepts:

First, I would really emphasize the stretching of your lower extremities, specifically your lower back, hamstrings, quadriceps (thigh muscles) and hip flexors. Out on the slopes your body takes a pounding, and it’s important to be as limber as possible prior to making the trip. Also, don’t forget to stretch before and after you fly down the slopes!

Secondly, I recommend maximizing your cardiovascular stamina prior to your trip. Endurance training is extremely important, as many injuries occur when you’re fatigued. Remember, too, that if you’re traveling out West, you’ll be skiing in thinner air, which requires more exertion.

Lastly, focus on strengthening your core muscles prior to the trip. This includes the muscles of your thighs, buttocks, low back and abdomen. Combined with the above, these tips will help leave you less sore when you wake up the next morning, allowing you to enjoy your whole trip and not just the first day. Have fun!

L. Shay Richardson, M.D.

Center for Sports Medicine & Orthopaedics

7480 Zieglar Road

Chattanooga, TN 37421

(423) 624-2696