Getting Fit and Healthy for a Ski Holiday – and Staying that Way!

The possibilities for becoming fit and healthy both before, during and after a ski holiday are virtually endless. Take advantage of the opportunity to push your body to its physical limits and see what you can achieve this winter season!

It’s that time of year when people’s minds turn to getting fit and healthy for New Year, and what better way to kickstart this than with a skiing holiday? Skiing itself is a great way to get into – and stay in – shape. Snow sports are an excellent form of cardio as well as a great way to tone and strengthen leg, core and arm muscles. Both skiing and snowboarding are particularly good for strengthening the ankles, lower legs, quadriceps and glutes, as you engage these muscles to control your board or skis. Both activities require good balance, which work your core muscles, pulling in your abs and helping to align your spine. As you balance, you use your arm muscles to help steady yourself, working to firm them up, particularly in the upper arms and shoulders.

When your muscles are strong, the body works harder to use them, therefore burning more calories. This, plus being in a cold environment (where your body burns calories just to keep warm) is great news for your metabolism! On top of all these great health benefits, skiing and boarding also release adrenaline and endorphins that lift your mood and make you feel more alert, awake and happy.

It’s important to think about getting fit ahead of your skiing holiday, so you can make the most of the time you have on the slopes without having to worry too much about tired legs and aching bodies. Below are a few ideas for how you can best prepare yourself for your long-awaited holiday, and how you can maintain your fitness and build on the effects of your ski adventures.

• Prepare yourself for your holiday with ski exercises so you can be in peak physical condition for when your time on the slopes comes around. Any gym work out will help in improving your fitness and strength, while cycling and even just walking will really help to get your legs and knees supple, and swimming and running will help to build up your cardio fitness. Some specific exercises that have been proven to help with preparing one’s body for skiing or snowboarding are side-to-side jumps, lunges, squats and single leg exercises (to help with balance).

• Take advantage of resort facilities to work on your health and fitness. In Tignes in the French Alps, for instance, there’s an excellent pool and fitness complex with a well-equipped gym, a sizeable pool (with both an area to swim lengths and a fun area with slides and rapids), classes including spinning and circuits, and a gorgeous spa area for easing your muscles while you take in the views. The Tignes Espace building also plays host to many sporting events, including football, badminton and athletics.

• Enjoy some après ski but remember that getting a good night’s sleep and drinking plenty of (non-alcoholic!) fluids will help your muscles deal with the intensity of exercise that skiing or snowboarding demands.

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