Heidi Wurmann and Dana Hudson
Winter is definitely here. While some people moan and groan about the winter months and lack of opportunity for exercise, others find the snowy months feed their needs in many ways.
Winter is definitely here. While some people moan and groan about the winter months and lack of opportunity for exercise, others find the snowy months feed their needs in many ways. If snowboarding is your game, or you’re eager to give it a try, or even if your friends are forcing you to join them, here are some ideas to make sure that you get as much out of the season as you can.
Snowboarding is fun and great exercise. It gives the muscles in your legs (particularly the quads and calves) and abdominal area a workout. It’s also a great cardio workout without putting a lot of strain on joints. In fact, snowboarding is fairly easy on your body if you prepare yourself physically and use the proper equipment.
Plan ahead for the first dump of snow. There are a number of ways to prepare yourself. Here are a couple of exercises that are easy and can be done anywhere. Plus they’re free (something you will appreciate as you save up for your season’s pass)!
Strengthen Those Tummies
There are millions of ways to work the abdominals and everyone has her favourite. I’m a fan of the ab crunch (hmm, sounds like a chocolate bar). It gives the stomach muscles a workout without straining the back or neck. The key to doing good crunches is to make sure that your spine and neck remain straight. Don’t pull on your neck–you’ll end up doing neck curls! Remind yourself to keep your eyes on the sky or ceiling.
Crunches mean that you lift your shoulders off the ground, hold and then lie back down rather than doing a full sit-up, which can be hard on the back and tailbone. Do three sets of 30 reps to start.
Your stomach muscles are in constant use while snowboarding even if you don’t realize it. Balance has a lot to do with your abdominals, so strong ones will help keep you upright. They are also a godsend when you find yourself having to move from your butt to a standing position about a hundred times in a day!
Stretch And Stop Whining!
Stretching is absolutely vital before heading out onto the snow. Morning-after aches and pains are minimized when stretching becomes a part of your daily routine. A lot of the stretches can be done while you wait in the lift line. Use the person next to you as a wall of sorts to stretch your biceps, triceps and pectoral muscles. If you keep your knees almost straight when doing up your bindings, you might stretch your hamstrings. Take your time. Once you’re strapped onto your board, sit on the ground and pull your toe edge towards you. This is a good stretch for your calves. Neck stretches are also important as they can prevent the whiplash feeling from excessive falling onto hard-packed snow!
And finally, don’t forget your ankles. They’ll be strapped into your boots all day and a few ankle rotations before heading out on the hill helps to keep you in fine form.
Hup, Two, Three, Four!
Strength in your calves is very important. All you need for this workout is a set of stairs. Walking up and down three steps on the balls of your feet will help build power in the bottom half of your legs. You can hold weights, or something that passes for weights, in your hands. Doing three sets of 20 repetitions should help with control on turns as you rock from your toe side to your heel side while zipping through a tight tree area.
Wall sits build strength and endurance in the quadriceps for long and sustained carving runs on freshly groomed corduroy or for maneuvering a snowboard through heavy coastal powder.
Stand against a wall. Move from a standing position to sitting (without the chair). Make sure your body is at a 45-degree angle. Keep your feet flat on the floor directly under your knees. Hold for 20 seconds and then stand and stretch. Repeat three times. As you get stronger, increase the time that you sit.