The initial excitement of booking a family skiing holiday can soon fade when the reality that you have just booked a physically demanding getaway sinks in. Fitness is the key to enjoying a skiing or snowboarding holiday and making sure that you are less likely to get injured or have aching muscles, and it is a good idea to start working on fitness about 8-12 weeks before jetting off to one of the world's snowy mountain regions.
Focusing on general fitness is sure to help, but the following exercises should be carried out at least four times a week.
Excellent for working the core muscles that help with balance and stability. Begin by lying on your stomach with your forearms on the ground, and your shoulders in line with your elbows. Rise up onto your toes and hold your body weight on your forearms, drawing in your abdominal muscles. Make sure your body is kept in a straight line; do not let your shoulders rise or lower back sink. Hold the plank for one minute and repeat three times with short breaks between each.
Many skiers flex their knees more than their ankles, resulting in tired out thighs and strained knee joints. Ankle flexibility can be improved with this simple exercise. Stand with one foot in front of the other and lean forward slightly against a wall using your arms for support. Keep your back leg straight and bend your front knee; you should feel a stretch run along the calf muscle. Do not let your heels leave the ground and repeat the stretch a couple of times on each leg. This stretch is best done after the rest of the exercises.
Similar to the popular Wall Sit exercise, the Squat is a great exercise for the thighs, hamstrings and bottom. Begin by standing with your feet hip width apart and hold your arms out in front of you. Squat backwards and downwards until your thighs are parallel to the floor and your knees are no further in front of you than your second toe. Stand back up, keeping your arms out in front. Complete in sets of 15 squats with a 30 second break between every set.
Walking or jogging
Exercise that improves general fitness is essential to making it through the entire skiing holiday without collapsing into a heap after day one, and walking and jogging are both easy and cheap ways of improving this. Start off with at least 30 minutes of walking four times a week and gradually increase the speed to a jog or run when you feel ready.