Why You Should do Cardio Training Before You Go Skiing

cardio rowing

It's easy to take your fitness for granted when you're planning on going skiing or snowboarding. But improving your cardio fitness by training pre-season has lots of definite benefits.

Cardio fitness works on your heart and lungs, the fuel injectors that will keep your motor running during a long day on the slopes. This is important for a number of reasons, including :

  • You will be skiing at altitude - the better your cardio fitness, the easier you will deal with the extra demands this places on your body
  • Greater aerobic endurance will allow you to handle longer runs, and pack more runs into a day on the slopes
  • Greater cardio fitness will also reduce the chances of injury - fatigue is a major factor in a large percentage of skiing injuries and accidents

So What Kind of Cardio Exercises?

There are loads of different cardio exercises to choose from including walking, running, biking, swimming, and any of the different cardio machines in the gym (rower, stepper, cross trainer etc.).

However, because of the nature of skiing, the best choices will be those where you are on your feet - thus running, stepping or if you are confident in correct technique, a rowing machine.

Don't overlook an intense exercise class either - or circuit training classes and Les Mills BodyPump.

How Long Do I have to Train For?

Anyone who has ever visited a gym has heard that you have to do at least twenty minutes of cardio for it to be worthwhile. The trouble is that many people think that means that all they ever have to do is twenty minutes of cardio.

This is wrong for two reasons. Firstly, consider how long you will ski each day - will it be just twenty minutes? Quite simply, longer cardio sessions (40 mins to an hour) will be much better preparation for long days on the slopes.

Secondly, you can also get considerable benefits from shorter sessions. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking ten minutes to your local shop instead of driving, these simple activities will be using the muscles and cardio system that skiing uses, and will, when added to your full-length cardio workouts, help prepare you for the slopes.

Stamina and Exertion

Finally, it's worth considering that skiing is not simply a steady cardiovascular activity. In fact, it is often anaerobic - meaning that you have short bursts of intense activity (flying down a steep slope) followed by a rest period (sitting on the ski lift).

Thus it's worth considering adding some form of interval training to your workout program at least once per week. This can take the form of traditional intervals (short intense burst of activity - 30 to 90 seconds - followed by a 90 second rest period), or something like circuit training, which is highly anaerobic.

In Summary

  • Start your cardio training at least 6 to 12 weeks before your holiday
  • Aim for three sessions per week - obviously if you do more you'll get fitter
  • Work on one longer session per week - add five minutes per week to your 'long' workout until you reach an hour
  • Do one intense interval workout per week
  • Be sure to include some strength and flexibility work in your training program
  • Look for ways to add more activity to your everyday life - taking the stairs, walking a bit more etc

Do all of this consistently, and once you hit the slopes you'll find you can ski longer and better, with less falls - who wouldn't want that?

By Will Smith



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