Pre-ski preparations help before hitting the slopes

Mon Feb 13, 2012 10:54am EST
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By Dorene Internicola

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Hitting the slopes can be daunting for an out-of-shape beginner and even for more experienced skiers, but fitness experts say whatever your level of expertise, everyone can benefit from a bit of pre-ski preparation.

Lisa Wheeler, a New York-based fitness instructor, believes it's never too late to get in shape to make skiing more enjoyable and safe. But don't overdo it.

"Do some basic strength training for the legs, core and arms," said Wheeler, fitness program director for DailyBurn, an online workout site. "But if you haven't done anything, dial it back a little."

Wheeler recommends lunges to strengthen the quadriceps, the long muscles in the front of the thigh.

"Lunges are quad-dominant and skiing is very quad dominant because your knees are bent and you're going downhill," she said. "And lunges also work the hamstrings and glutes," she explained, referring to the large muscles that form the buttocks.

Wheeler thinks the novice can forgo jumping or hopping lunges and concentrate instead on matrix lunges, basically stepping to and pushing off different directions across the range of motion.

"For the last-minute person I recommend taking it easy," she said.

Wheeler said people think of skiing as going in one direction, downhill, and neglect to prepare their hips and core for the considerable demands of the activity.   Continued...

<p>A skier takes a jump during sunny winter weather at the Swiss mountain area of Hoch-Ybrig, south of Zurich, February 23, 2011. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann</p>