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Hit the Gym Before You Hit the Slopes

Proper conditioning will help prevent injuries when downhill skiing

SATURDAY, Dec. 14, 2002 (HealthDayNews) -- Shaping up before you start your ski season can help you ski better and avoid injuries.

There are four basic components to downhill ski fitness, says information from the Medical College of Wisconsin.

The first is cardiovascular fitness. Rollerblading, sideboards, tennis and soccer are all good activities to shape up for ski season. Not only do they provide a good cardiovascular workout, they also feature lateral movements similar to skiing.

Flexibility is another important fitness component for downhill skiing. Increased flexibility reduces your risk of injury. You should emphasize improving flexibility in your hips, thighs, groin and lower back.

You also need to do strength training, focusing on quadricep muscles to protect your knees. You should also build strength in your hamstring muscles, shoulders, abdomen and lower back.

Suggested exercises for downhill ski conditioning include single leg squat, lunges, shrugs and upright rows.

Balance and agility are also vital. You can help develop those by doing lateral box jumps and tuck jumps.

More information

Here's where to go to find much more about ski conditioning.

SOURCE: Medical College of Wisconsin, news release, December 2002
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