Recreational Winter Sports Conditioning Tips

A.   Specificity of Training

This is perhaps the most important concept.  One should be doing something similar to what they will be doing when they travel to the mountains.

B.   Train, Don’t Strain

Any conditioning program should be started six weeks or more prior to going on a trip.  If one starts training two weeks prior to going, it is actually worse than doing nothing at all.  The results of your efforts are muscle soreness, fatigue and a setup for an injury.

C.   Unique Problems to Winter Sports

1.   Usually one can’t practice the sport itself.
2.   Usually on travels to a higher altitude.
3.   The environment is usually colder, dryer and brighter than one is used to.

D.   Recommendations for Preparing for Winter Sports

1. Be generally fit.

a. Aerobically:

a)   30 minutes 3 days a week for running, biking, rowing, swimming or hiking.
b)   ability to use oxygen decreases above 5000 feet.

2. Be specifically fit.

a. Ice skating, alpine skiing, and cross country skiing tax the upper legs.  Here are some specific drills you can do.  Wall sits, holding a tuck, jumping over an 8″ barrier.

b.   There are also some specific dry land devices for each of these sports:

a)   Alpine skiing; grass skis.
b)   Ice skating; roller blades.
c)   Cross country skiing; roller skis.

c.   For those interested in the luge, the bobsled or ski jumping, practice, practice, practice.

E.   Recommendations on a Winter Sports Trip

1.   Be aware of the environment.

a.   Altitude

a)   Obligatory diuresis procedures lowest plasma
volume on the third and fourth days.

a)   setup for thromboembolic disease, arterial and venous

b)   solution: take it easy on those days; stay really well hydrated.

b)   Cold, dry air causes increased respiratory and sweat losses.

a)   aggravates #1
b)   solution: stay well hydrated

c)   The sun is more intense at altitude

a)   apply sun screen to exposed areas.
b)   include lips, neck and back of ears.

2.   Make gradual transitions.

a)   Don’t ski all day the first day.
b)   Take the easy runs the first day.

3.   Biggest problems:

a)   THE LAST RUN OF THE DAY, quit one before or when you feel pleasantly fatigued.
b)   DEHYDRATION leads to or aggravates:

1) altitude sickness
2) hypothermia
3) fatigue leading to injury
4) thromboembolic diseases
5) dehydration sets you up for all illnesses!

c)   Avoid diuretics like alcohol, coffee or tea.

4.   Miscellaneous recommendations for enjoyment.

a)   Try some ice skating and cross country skiing.
b)   Party after the fourth day.
c)   Remember, Mother Nature is unforgiving, particularly in the mountains in winter.

Request an appointment with the professionals at South Carolina Sports Medicine if you’re experiencing pain or are dealing with an injury. Call or text us at (843) 572-2663 for more information about our services.
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