This article will help you understand what it will take to ski like you are 30 well into your 80’s. We’ll be covering what the sport requires of your body and why you must do off-season ski conditioning. We cover a sample list of exercises to include in your ski conditioning workout in another post.
Skiing Seems Harder the Older You Get
You may have noticed that the last time you went skiing, things weren’t as you remembered. Your turns may not have been as clean and easy as they once were. You maybe couldn’t ski as long as you used to. You may also have noticed that your feet, knees, hips and back are more achy and sore than they used to be when you were younger.
Bad news is that you are suffering from symptoms of aging. After all, getting old isn’t for wimps!
- Every decade between your mid 20’s to mid-50’s you lose on average, 5 pounds of muscle (Forbes 1976: Evans & Rosenberg 1992). That number gets higher in older adulthood. Muscles move bones. If you want to perform well-you need muscle.
- 30+ years ago to get in shape for ski season-you skied. Now, to enjoy the youthful skiing you want, you’ve got to prepare and cross-train so you don’t get injured and so you can perform at the top of your game.
- As we age, reaction times go down. It’s getting harder and harder to avoid hitting the things you don’t want to hit. You don’t recover from those little bumps on the ski run like you used to.
- As we lose strength, we also lose balance. The famous adage is true-if you don’t use it, you lose it. When was the last time you actually worked on your dynamic balance-the kind you need for skiing? If you don’t feel as secure or steady on your skis like you used to-you need to consider working on your balance.
So now for the good news. You are older, and wiser and have a lot of great miles and memories you’ve accumulated. Congratulations-you are a masters athlete. More good news is that you can regain your fitness and truly enjoy high levels of skiing again.
Ski Conditioning Reduces Injuries
Better conditioning will help older adults prevent injuries common to skiing-it may not prevent all of them-that’s impossible-but with a comprehensive ski conditioning workout program you can greatly reduce your risk of injuries like:
- Knee injuries (ACL, MCL tears/strains)
- Shoulder separations, broken arms and collar bones (from landing on out-stretched hands when falling)
- Low back pain from the jarring and bouncing from skiing
Ski Conditioning Improves Performance
As you look at the sport and recreation of skiing, there are several elements that the older adult will need to be successful and injury-free, especially if you want to reclaim the ‘glory days’. Some of these performance needs are:
- Ankle mobility: if you’re relying 100% on the boot form to provide you the flexibility to stay over your skis, you’re in for serious problems.
- Knee stability & strength
- Leg and overall stamina/endurance and power: think about when was the last time you did any type of jumping. How long has it been?
If you aren’t consistently incorporating all of the above elements for performance and injury prevention and safety you will be at a higher risk of injury, and an even higher risk of not enjoying the ski season.
If you want to ski better than you possibly ever have, you seriously need to get professional help to get a comprehensive ski conditioning program that will address all of the above needs for skiing.
Try them out. See how you do!