When I first came to Les Gets in 2005 it was my first time in the French Alps as well as my first time skiing, perhaps a little late in life - call it my early mid-life crisis! I remember all too well experiencing the excruciating muscle pain during, immediately after, and the next morning – tumbling out of bed onto my knees, having to slide down the stairs on my bum because my legs stopped working, not being able to get the ski boots back on the next day……. I’m sure you’ve all been there.
It’s taken me a few years (11 in total!) but I’ve finally worked out what’s been causing this and that it is possible to prepare your body to help to reduce the effects. Remember though, no matter how much preparation you do you will still ache after a long hard day of skiing, snowboarding, snow-shoeing, mountain biking, climbing, walking, canyoning or any other activity, but you can definitely do something to prepare your body to keep these aches to a minimum.
- Always start your day of activity with a warm up - you can do this anywhere – in your bedroom, in the lounge, while you’re waiting for your breakfast, in the boot room, outside in the garden or even out on the piste
- A few easy dynamic stretches will have you warm and ready to go in 15 minutes
- 3 sets of 10 repetitions of these easy examples are a great start - forward lunges, side lunges, side bends, shoulder shrugs and arm rotations
- There are so many to choose from, just remember to work your upper body as well as your legs!
- Cool down with a gentle walk back to your chalet if you’re not too far from the village
- Followed by 15 minutes of nice relaxing static stretches
- You can work in doors in the winter or out in the garden in the warmer weather
- Hold each stretch for 15 to 20 seconds and as you become more flexible you’ll be able to hold the stretch for longer
- Stretching shouldn’t be painful, if it hurts you’ve gone too far
- Again, remember to stretch out your upper body as well as those legs
Once you’re nice and stretched out perhaps treat yourself to a glass or 2 of the fizzy stuff to help with the relaxation before commencing the evening’s activities!
It’s simple really – always make time for a warm up and a cool down before starting any mountain activity, you’ll benefit in the long run.
And above all else stay safe and enjoy yourselves – the mountains are amazing!
Dianne Leach is a personal fitness trainer in Les Gets, where she runs My Mountain Fitness
Photos: My Mountain Fitness