Winter is coming.
Different seasons usually signify a change in our recreation habits. As you pack up your mountain bike and get out your skis, it’s important to practice mindfulness and bring your focus to different muscles that you may use in various sports. Skiing, both downhill and cross country, utilize the large muscle groups that need both stretching and strengthening.
Chair pose is an excellent pose to build strength in your quadriceps. Working on different variations of chair pose helps to strengthen and more importantly stabilize your muscles. Come into chair pose and sit your hips as low as they go. Now, lift up your heels so you are balancing on your big toe mounds. As you lift your heels up, lower your hips down. If you shake, recognize that this is indication of your strength and balance being challenged. Stay with it even as you shake!
Conversely, stretching and resting these muscles will decrease muscle tears and injury. Standing hero's pose isolates these muscles in order to get a deep stretch into the belly of the quadricep muscle. Stand next to a wall with your left hand on the wall for balance. Bend your right knee and reach behind your low back for your right foot. Keep both knees next to one another and bring a gentle tuck to your tailbone. Hold this stretch for 5 breaths (5 inhales / 5 exhales). Next, turn around so your right hand is on the wall for balance, bend your left knee and repeat the stretch on your second side. Do this stretch both before and after skiing.
Tight hips are a common side effect of using the large leg muscles in sports. Try this easy seated stretch. Come into a seat with one leg/shin crossed in front of the other (otherwise known as “crisscross applesauce”). Place your hands on the floor in front of you and begin to walk your hands away from your crossed legs, getting a deep stretch in your low back and hips. Hold this for 10 breaths. Walk your hands back towards your legs and change the cross of your legs. Walk your hands back out again and hold for 10 breaths as you move deep into the stretch. Resting in between days of intense activity is invaluable. For every two days that you spend on the mountain or the backcountry, allow yourself one day for rest and recovery. Take a walk, a bath, a rest, and enjoy.
By Liz Skarvelis; All Rights Reserved @2017