Get More Out Of Your Winter Holiday

Stuart Osborne

The anticipation of a skiing holiday brightens up the long, dark days of late winter. But if you are going to make the most of your time on the slopes, then your preparation should really stretch beyond checking snow reports and webcams!

Getting into shape before you go will not only help you enjoy your holiday to the max - both on and off the slopes – but can also help protect you from injuring yourself. If you are physically fit, you will be able to ski longer and harder. Injuries are far more common at the end of the day when once-a-year skiers who have pushed hard all day – and perhaps had too much wine at lunch – are tired and more likely to fall.

What should you be doing to prepare? It is very important to develop the strength of leg muscles, but just as crucial is your proprioception of your joints. This is the automatic sense of knowing the position of your ankles, knees and hips without having to look or think too hard about it and is co-ordinated mainly through balance. Activities such as cycling, running and normal leg strengthening machines at the gym are all good. Even better, combine this with a ski-fit class which can help you achieve good balance of the lower limb joints (more than simply not falling over!) and stronger leg muscles, which will significantly improve your performance and staying power.

Of course, there is never any guarantee against injury and over the next few months we shall see a good number of patients with post-ski trip injuries, especially of the knee. Spring’s physiotherapists, working closely with orthopaedic and radiography colleagues, devise individual treatment plans which will not only get you back on your feet but also prepare you for future sporting activities. Our rehabilitation regimes make use of a variety of facilities including our gymnasium and hydrotherapy pool.

We also see people with existing knee problems before they go on holiday to advise on appropriate exercises or to measure and fit custom-built knee braces. These are designed for top-end sporting activities and help support the hard work already done by you in preparing for your winter fun holiday.