The 3 Best Warm Up Exercises For Hitting the Slopes!
By: Dr. Sabrina Wayt, DPT
Winter sports such as skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing are no exception to the rule of warming up before a sport to prevent injury. It is even more important to warm up your body with active movement beforehand due to the cold weather and having most likely just sat in a car for at least a half hour. We see winter mountain related injuries at our clinic left and right. A common factor that is missing is lack of warming up. Our top three exercises to prevent injury from winter mountain sports are as follows: squats, leg swings, and dynamic spinal twists. All three of these exercises offer coordination, core, balance, and dynamic components that are essential to winter mountain sports.
Why? This exercise warms up every major joint of the body, which is especially important for the knees and hips. Warming up tissue helps to lubricate the joints, gets blood flow to the muscles, and help with fluidity of movement.
How? A squat can be achieved by starting from a standing position with feet a little wider than shoulder width apart, begin to bend through the hips putting the weight onto your heels, keeping your spine straight, and making sure your knees do not pass your toes, and come back up. These squats can be modified into mini-squats by not going down as low. Repeat 15-20 times.
Why? These create a dynamic and balance focused warm up due to the speed, repetitions, and coordination involved in this exercise. Winter mountain sports especially require a balance component for staying on your feet.
How? Begin in the standing position, feet shoulder width apart, begin with your non-dominant side. Lift your arm up and as you kick the same leg up drop your arm down then back up as your leg goes down as with a scissor motion. Repeat on the same side until you have finished the repetitions before switching sides. Age group parameters for repetitions: ages 75 and up perform 50, 35-75 perform 75, and 35 and younger perform 100.
Dynamic Spinal Twist
Why? This combined stretch and core stabilization exercise gets the spine necessary movement and core activation in order to protect the spine. Opening up and performing movement through the spine allows for fluid movement and facilitating core muscle activation, helping the muscles to be fired up and ready to perform their job.
How? Lay on your back with your knees in a bent position with both feet flat on the ground, arms stretches out to either side, palms facing up. Engage your core and slowly rotate your knees from side to side as far as you can go, knees maintaining their bent position. By performing slower movements, you are challenging your core and activating it to have improved control. Repeat 20 times.
These three exercises are a great way to get your heart rate up, blood flow to your muscles, lubricate the joints, and activate your core, preparing it for a fun safe day on the mountain!
These exercises can be seen at our clinic to prevent or work on specific pain, injury, or weaknesses to promote an overall healthy body. Come see us at Lilly Physical therapy where we not only treat current injuries, but prepare your body to prevent further injuries!