Having a good level of fitness when you go skiing or snowboarding is crucial, so here's Graham Bell with a few fitness tips...
To help you get on track and get fit, we've called upon ex-Olympic skier and self confessed fitness fanatic Graham Bell to give us some of his advice on how to be in the best possible shape for skiing and snowboarding.
Graham Bell's fitness tips
It is easy to forget just how physical a whole days skiing can be. Even with a lengthy lunch stop an average day on the slopes will deliver between 4 and 6 hours of sustained physical activity. Of course the ski lifts give you a chance to recover, but the higher the altitude the longer that will take. And you do need to recover, because skiing hard works you at an intensity that can only be sustained for a couple of minutes before the legs start to burn with the build up of lactic acid.
If you really want to ski longer, harder and safer next winter, you will need to create a ski fitness programme that includes:
To improve your cardiovascular fitness, you will need to try and do aerobic sessions of 20 minutes to 1 hour at least three times a week. Aerobic activity includes any exercise which raises your heart rate, such as cycling or running.
During these sessions, you should be working at around 50-60% of your max heart rate. A quick way of estimating your max heart rate without doing a test is 220 minus your age. If you cannot take your heart rate then another good rule of thumb is that you should be able to just about hold a conversation with whoever you are training with.
Try and find a way of training that you enjoy and you will be more likely to stick with it.
Cycling is the favoured method of aerobic training for World Cup skiers and is a great way to replicate the fitness needed for skiing or snowboarding.
Cross-trainers provide a way of breaking up a big endurance session with a variety of exercises. If you can get access to one, then the Skier’s Edge provides the best ski specific fitness workout, as it is the only machine that works in a lateral plain.
Ice Skating, rollerblading or rollerskiing are great ways to train endurance for skiing as they require similar levels of balance/coordination and lateral movement.
Running is great for weight loss, and can deliver a very high-end aerobic workout. The downside is that it is high impact and can be hard on skiers' knees.
Swimming is not a great way to train for skiing as it concentrates too much on the upper body, although is a good way to vary a programme.
Only once you have reached a good level of fitness for your skiing (it will take about 6 weeks to feel the effects) you can also consider anaerobic exercises where you work in short blasts, such as circuit training - a great way to get even fitter before you hit the slopes.