Whether you are looking forward to skiing or snowboarding, now is the time to get your gear and body tuned up! With only a few months until the snow flies, preparation should begin with a thorough check-in on your most valuable and irreplaceable piece of equipment, your body. Inspect all of your winter sports gear, and that includes ensuring your body has the conditioning, support, and comfort it needs to get the most out of your time on the ski hill.
Step One: Get Real
Do a self-assessment, and be honest with yourself. Are there unresolved areas of pain or discomfort anywhere in your body? Do you have any injuries that you have not fully addressed through proper treatment or that have not fully healed? Are you experiencing any health issues such as plantar fasciitis or shin splints that you didn’t have last winter? Have you spent any time strengthening and conditioning your body for the physicality of skiing and snowboarding? Take the time to embrace these issues and take charge. Consult with your health care team about any concerns that you have about returning to your winter pastimes. If your doctor has cleared you for exercise, its time to get active to prepare your joints and muscles for the slopes.
Step Two: Are Your Feet Ready to Step Into Winter?
Our feet bear the brunt of uncomfortable ski and snowboard boots, forced to conform to what may be a painful position. Consider your foot health, and drag out your equipment to ensure you have the best fit possible. Your feet may thank you for adding orthotic insoles to your equipment. Offering a heel cradle, arch support, balancing form, and heel pain relief, these ergonomically designed insoles will keep you on the slopes longer. If you suffer from plantar fasciitis, that inflamed band across your heel bone, your winter sport may benefit from wearing a sock offering pain relief, arch support, and increased circulation. Ultra-thin and supportive plantar fasciitis sockswill make wearing your ski and board boots far more comfortable. You can gain further stamina from our breathable, stay-put compression socks designed for comfort by their seamless design.
Step Three: What About Your Knees?
Like many of us, you may experience the dreaded “bad knee.” While common, it can be helped through the right therapies, exercises, and treatments. If you have any knee pain, consult your health care team to determine the cause, and begin your healing. Healthy knees are critical for snowboarding and skiing, so don’t waste another second before getting them sorted. Resistance training can reduce knee pain by focusing on the muscles that act on this joint, particularly those that tend to be weaker such as the hamstrings. Strengthening the quadriceps, hamstrings, and calve muscles can be accomplished anywhere using resistance pull-up and loop bands. These bands range in resistance, so they are ideal for beginning resistance trainers as well as seasoned athletes.
You may find benefit from a light, durable, comfortable knee sleeve which provides athletic compression and support. These compression knee sleeves are comfortable to wear and will fit seamlessly under your winter wear. If your knee requires additional support, consider using kinesiology tape to add further stability and control swelling or a knee brace to offer further support.
Step Four: Apres Ski Time
After a day on the mountain, soaking in a hot tub followed by a cozy fire and hot chocolate is perfect. Even better, you can indulge and care for your body by adding some self-massage to your apres ski time. After any physical activity, your body can benefit from recovery techniques, including a warm down, stretching, and self-massage. By using massage balls and massage sticks, you can reduce your downtime by working out sore spots and knots, stimulating healing, and boosting your muscle recovery.