Before the slopes, winterize your workout

Mon Nov 22, 2010 7:55am EST
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By Dorene Internicola

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - For much of the northern hemisphere, it's time to put away summer things.

If the chilly autumn air turns your workout thoughts to skis and snowboards, experts say now is the time to finesse your summer routine to meet the demands of winter fitness.

"Long and steady is great for summer cardiovascular fitness. But for skiing, it's good to tweak that schedule and go higher intensity, shorter durations," said Dave Merriam, director of mountain recreation at the Stowe Mountain Resort in Stowe, Vermont.

"Skiing and snowboarding are more like sprinting: you breathe then you rest. That's really different from running or riding a bike, where you're tooling along in your zone," he said. "So physiologically it's good to do less aerobic, more sprint."

Merriam also recommends spending an extra day or two in the weight room.

"Muscularly, skiing and snowboarding are very static," he said. "The quadriceps and hamstrings are fired at the same time, in co-contraction, to stabilize the knee. So if muscles aren't strong you take stress in the ligaments and tendons."

And that's when you can get pain in the ankle or lower back. Adrenalin may carry you for the first day or two, according to Merriam, but day three may find you out of balance, leaning on your equipment, and in need of a sports massage.

"Skiing and snowboarding require good physical as well as mental focus," he said. "If you get tired you can get loopy and then you hurt yourself."   Continued...

<p>A Bosu Bootcamp class at Crunch in New York City is seen December 2009, in this handout photo. REUTERS/Crunch/Handout</p>