The snow is falling and the mountains are calling your name. Winter in Calgary is perfect for all sorts of outdoor activities: downhill skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing! Weekend after weekend you put yourself through a great physical challenge. Prepare your body for these activities through strength training will help you have more fun, without pain or injury.
Many winter activities use the strength and power of the lower body. The lower body holds the largest and strongest muscles, which many of us neglect all summer. Come first snowfall, we are out there on the mountain unable to participate to our full capacity because our legs are tired after two runs. And man are we sore the next day!
Strengthening your muscles before the season starts will also help prevent injury. Our joints endure a tremendous amount of pressure and instability in many winter activities. If we have strong muscles, ligaments and tendons surrounding the joints, there is less of a risk of injuring the joint. For example, many of us know of someone who has torn the ACL or meniscus in the knee while downhill skiing. This injury can be prevented if you have a strong quadricep and hamstring muscle surrounding the knee joint because these muscles do not allow the knee to torque in a way that will tear those ligaments.
Being strong going into your winter season of fun will also help with your recovery process. Many of us have woken up after a day of fun unable to hop out of bed. Muscles have memory and must practice to remember. They get used to the movement and the way they are required to fire to move properly. The more you do it, the easier it is and the less sore you are!
So as the winter approaches and you get your equipment ready by waxing, sharpening and tightening, think about preparing your body. It is the most important piece of equipment you have.
On Your Own
Focus on strengthening the quadriceps, hamstrings and gluteal muscles. Some exercises that you can do on your own to prepare your muscles are squats, lunges and balancing exercises. These can be done with no weight as they are only for range of motion purposes.
With Your Trainer
To start developing strength and power so you can last longer, you should consult a personal trainer. This ensures you are progressing with weights properly and executing the exercises correctly.