Skiing is great fun, and also an excellent form of exercise. If you’re planning your first ski trip then you’ll want to make the most of every day, rather than spending most of the time with aching limbs, feeling unfit. You’ll need a certain level or cardiovascular fitness and strength to spend all day on the slopes, and then still have the energy for the all important après ski afterwards.
If you’re not already exercising regularly through sport, or going to the gym, then it’s a really good idea to do some light exercise before you go on your trip. Running and swimming will help with stamina, and there are also a few nice easy exercises that can strengthen your body too, focusing on your quads, glutes, calves, and core. Try these five exercises at home:
- The plank: Lie flat on your front and rest your elbows on the floor. Push your hips up so you're resting only on your elbows and toes. Hold the position for 60-seconds. Don’t let your hips dips, and keep your body straight. Repeat three times with a short break in between each go.
- Lunges: Start with your feet together, then step one leg forward and bend down so your front leg forms a right angle. Your back leg should almost be touching the floor. Keep your upper body straight, with your shoulders back and relaxed, and your chin up. Try to keep your core engaged at all times. Do 20 reps, four times, with a short rest between each set.
- Squats: Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart and push your hips back. Bend your knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor (your knees shouldn’t come in front of your toes). Then stand back up and repeat. Aim to do three sets of 20, with a 45-second rest between sets. Try a light weight in each hand If you want to make the exercise a little harder.
- Wall squats: Find a nice clear wall and stand with your back resting against it. Move down into your squat position and hold it there for as long as you can. Really push your back and bum against the wall for best results. Repeat three times with a short break in between each go.
- Squat jumps: With your feet shoulder-width apart, squat down so your thighs are parallel to the floor, then jump high in the air. Try to land as softly as you can on your feet. Do four sets of four, with a short break between sets to catch your breath.
You don’t need to spend hours in the gym every day to get fit for your ski trip, as fortunately, many of the best exercises can be done in the comfort of your own home. You’ll be using muscles you probably don’t use every day, so try to start exercising at least six weeks before your trip to give you enough time to get your body in shape.
How can good nutrition help with skiing?
It’s easy to forget how physically demanding skiing is, even if you’re a beginner and you’re falling over (a lot). The average skier can burn up to 600 calories per hour, so you’ll need to make sure you fuel up properly to keep going. Here are some tips for what to eat throughout the day while skiing.
What to eat for breakfast when skiing: Breakfast is considered the most important meal of the day, so don’t skip it. To set yourself up right, fill up on protein with eggs, or go for a bowl of porridge for that slow-releasing energy. Muesli, yoghurt and fruit is a good healthy combination too.
What to eat for lunch when skiing: An active morning means you will have worked up an appetite by lunch. Though try not to overindulge though if you don’t want to be too tired for your afternoon session. A nice bowl of hot soup and fresh bread is a great option to warm you up, or grab a sandwich made with whole grain bread if you want something quick. As for drinks, leave the alcohol for après time as you’ll need to be alert on the slopes. Go for a warming hot chocolate, and don’t forget to keep drinking plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated.
What to eat for dinner when skiing: After a long day on the slopes, you’ll be ready for a nice big satisfying dinner. Meat and veg is a classic combination, and protein-rich fish is good for your muscles. Pasta is a nice easy meal to prepare if you’re staying in a self-catering apartment, or venture out and try a few of the local eateries. Just try to eat balanced meals with a mix of carbs, protein, and vegetables to help your muscles recover for tomorrow.
Skiing is hungry work, so stash some snacks into your backpack in case you get peckish between meals. Cereal bars are handy, and pack a bag of mixed nuts and a banana for a little boost of energy that’s full of goodness. But it doesn’t all have to be healthy, you are on holiday after all. Eating well is important, especially when you’re exercising, but make sure you treat yourself to a couple of flaky pastries and some delicious local wine too.