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Tips to Help Protect Your Knees When Skiing This Winter

Knee injuries are one of the most common types of skiing injuries, and can be one of the most serious. Tears to ligaments, tendons and muscles around the knee can happen suddenly and often lead to emergency room visits and even surgery.

Here are 5 ways to help prevent debilitating knee injuries when skiing.

  1. Exercise to build up strength before you ski. Strengthening the muscles in the legs can help stave off the fatigue that leads to so many injuries. A few weeks before you plan to ski, add some more leg presses and hamstring curls to your weightlifting routine. For cardio exercisers, include jumping and lunges in your walking or running schedule, or add a few minutes of jumping rope into your routine.

 

  1. Have your skis set correctly. Novice and intermediate skiers often get impatient with having to put skis back on after frequent falls, and have them set for a heavier weight so they do not come off as easily. This is not a good idea! Until you know how to fall and get up safely, it is best to leave your skis set so that they pop off in a fall, otherwise they can drag your knee into an unnatural position and do severe damage.

 

  1. Know how to fall.If a fall is unavoidable, go with it rather than fighting it. Unless you are in danger of hitting an obstacle or another skier, don’t try to turn or stop while sliding. Keep your knees bent while sliding, and don’t try to get up with them straightened. It is tempting to straighten the leg and attempt to dig in the ski edge to stop the fall, but this can cause the edge to catch and twist your knee in a direction it is not meant to bend.

 

  1. Correct poor form and technique.Poor form can lead to more falls, and cause these falls to be more serious than they need to be. If you haven’t skied in a while or are unsure of your skill level, take a ski school class (group or private) to help identify and work on your ski form and technique weaknesses.

 

  1. Know when to call it a day.Pay attention to your fatigue level. Temperature, quality of the snow, and crowded conditions can wear you out faster than you think. If you are growing tired, skip the temptation to take one more run. Too many injuries happen on that “one last run!”
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A Workout Strategy When You Want To Get Back In Shape After The Holidays

 

It is not uncommon with the Holiday Season upon us, to deviate from your normal diet and eat those extra sugar cookies or drink that extra glass of eggnog.  Unfortunately, with this change in diet comes the gaining of a few extra pounds this time of year. Along with the few extra pounds comes the busyness of trying to fit parties and family in on top of your normal weekly schedule. Well one of the first things that gets reduced or eliminated during this busy time of year is your fitness regime.  A few weeks go by without working out and before you know it your endurance and over all fitness are compromised.

If after the holidays you look in the mirror and know its time to get back on the “exercise horse” to lose that added weight, here are some tips on how to start up your new year’s fitness workout routine. 

Walking

Its important to start slow rather than aggressively when trying to get back in shape. Adding to your workout routine as you increase your strength and endurance is a good way to get your body back in shape after your holiday fitness hiatus. Walking is a great way to get your body back into shape after not exercising for a while. Start with a short walk around the same time each day. Extend the time of your walk each week until you are at least walking for 30 minutes. As you begin to feel fit, you can add some jogging into your walking routine to help increase your cardiovascular capacity and leg strength.

Personal Trainer

Hiring a personal trainer can be a great aid in getting yourself back in shape.  Personal trainers have extensive training in anatomy and kinetics and can greatly assist you into getting back in shape again. 

Home Gym

Investing in a home gym can provide you with the right motivation to get back in shape.  A home gym can save you the added time it takes to go to a health club. Buying a treadmill, elliptical or stationary cycle is a good way to build cardiovascular strength along with adding weights to build muscle.

Fitness Classes

Lastly, some individuals need the motivations of other to get back in shape. Joining a fitness class can be just the answer.  Classes in aerobics, yoga and aquatics are some ways to get back in shape.

 

 

 

 

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Tips To Help Enhance Your Indoor Winter Workouts

As for many of us across the country, when the cold weather hits, our workouts are moved indoors. Unfortunately, some fitness routines that are fun outdoors are just not the same when brought indoors. This can be especially true with running or biking. Running on a treadmill doesn’t compare to being outside on the roads or trails. It has been said that riding on a stationary bike confirms the concept of “hurry up and wait”! The good news is that working out indoors can have its advantages: climate control, entertainment availability and exercise variety. The indoor climate has no wind and the temperature is a non-factor. The entertainment from watching television during your workout can greatly help to reduce the boredom factor. Reading a book or magazine on the bike or stair master can be another workout boredom reduction aid. Probably the most important aspect to enhancing your indoor winter workout is the variety of fitness activities available. If you exercise at a health club, you can mix up your workout routine with running, biking, elliptical, etc. Including weight training and exercise classes, such as yoga and Pilates, can help improve your overall fitness during the winter season. Lastly, actually getting back outdoors to ski, snowshoe and/or ice-skate will not only help to balance your indoor fitness activities, but they will keep your passion for fitness “hot” over the “cold” winter months.

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The Annual Turkey Trot

  

The Thanksgiving Holiday is once again upon us. The great Thanksgiving traditions of eating turkey, watching football and shopping are something the Pilgrims must have envisioned back in the 1600’s!

As one of our major eating holidays, taking a run on Thanksgiving morning can be good idea. Turkey trots are a fun and healthy way to get a run in on Thanksgiving morning. After all, the football games don’t start till noon, the stores are not open yet and the turkey is still roasting in the oven.

Participating in a turkey trot race with friends and family can be a great way to burn a few calories and enjoy the company of love ones. Standing at the starting line of your local turkey trot, you get a feeling of community and excitement for the race to begin.

As the starting gun goes off, you feel the adrenaline pump through your body as you flow with the other race participants on to the racecourse. Along the course you hit that perfect pace that still enables you to comfortably talk and catch up with friends and family that are running along side.

When you cross the finish line, you not only feel a sense of accomplishment, but you imagine how good that turkey will taste…and all the trimmings and pumpkin pie too!

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Tips To Help Enhance Your Indoor Winter Workouts

As for many of us across the country, when the cold weather hits, our workouts are moved indoors. Unfortunately, some fitness routines that are fun outdoors are just not the same when brought indoors. This can be especially true with running or biking. Running on a treadmill doesn’t compare to being outside on the roads or trails. It has been said that riding on a stationary bike confirms the concept of “hurry up and wait”! The good news is that working out indoors can have its advantages: climate control, entertainment availability and exercise variety. The indoor climate has no wind and the temperature is a non-factor. The entertainment from watching television during your workout can greatly help to reduce the boredom factor. Reading a book or magazine on the bike or stair master can be another workout boredom reduction aid. Probably the most important aspect to enhancing your indoor winter workout is the variety of fitness activities available. If you exercise at a health club, you can mix up your workout routine with running, biking, elliptical, etc. Including weight training and exercise classes, such as yoga and Pilates, can help improve your overall fitness during the winter season. Lastly, actually getting back outdoors to ski, snowshoe and/or ice-skate will not only help to balance your indoor fitness activities, but they will keep your passion for fitness “hot” over the “cold” winter months.

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A Scary Halloween Fitness Tale

Each year Halloween marks the official start of the season for overeating. It comes at such an inauspicious time of year when the weather over most of the country is colder, the days are shorter and our desire to exercise regularly begins to wean. Although I do everything in my power to maintain my self-control and not eat any of the Halloween candy, I fail miserably. After all, Halloween candies are packaged so nice and small, and it says on the package that their “bite size”. I start by telling myself that a few pieces of candy won’t hurt because I am going to workout and burn off these added calories. Unfortunately, I end up eating enough of those “bite size” candies to be equivalent to the actual full size package. Darn those candy company marketers are good! As my sugar high burns off and I crash on the couch, the tiredness takes hold, sending me into REM sleep. My plan to workout today has now been officially scratched. After a few days of this candy binge, I begin to realize that I’m feeling a little sluggish and slightly heavier. Knowing very well that my metabolism is not what it used to be, I force myself to start exercising again on a regular basis. Halloween is now a few weeks ago and all the candy is gone from the house. Unfortunately, just as I get back into my fitness routine, I realize that Thanksgiving is just a few weeks away and my wife is making Pumpkin Pie!

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Last Bike Ride of the Year

Each spring, as the weather begins to warm in the Midwest, my excitement for biking outdoors again is palpable. After a long winter, there is nothing like your first bike ride of the season. As a dedicated road and mountain biker, riding the roads and trails in early spring is exhilarating. Over the course of the summer, as I get into riding shape, I tell myself that I could easily ride until the first snow. But, like all great plans, each year as late October is upon us, I get a change of heart. With the weather getting significantly colder, I find it less desirable to ride outdoors. I know there are a few die-hard cyclists out there that embrace these elements and it is with great respect that I most humbly bow to you! But for me, each fall as I battle the weather and shortness of daylight, I surrender to riding indoors. I know that indoor riding does not come close to riding on the roads and trails. But, on the other hand, no wind or cold to deal with and I can even watch Sports Center as I ride on my stationary bike. As I store my bikes for the winter, I pray that spring comes early next year!

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Finding Your “Fountain of Youth” as an Aging Athlete

 If you’re someone who is holding on to their athletic past at all costs (constant injuries), this blog is for you! When it comes to aging, we are forever looking for ways to stay young or at least slow the process. This is especially true when it comes to our athletic activities. Many “weekend warriors” in their 40’s and 50’s desperately attempt to hang on to their “glory days” as a younger athlete. They continue to play sports that their mind says “Yes” to, but their body says, “Are you kidding me!” These individuals suffer through sprain ankles; back pain, sore muscles, etc. just to continue playing the sports of their youth. Now, there is nothing wrong with having a passion for playing sports, but the older we get, the “Fountain of Youth” from sports comes from changing the actual sports we play.

Here are some helpful tips on finding your “Fountain of Youth” sport activity:

  1. As we age, our joints are not as fluid. Therefore, sports that requires quick starting and stopping motions, and/or pivoting, such as basketball, baseball and football, tend to be very tough on the joints. Not mention your ligaments, tendons and muscles! Changing to sports that are more fluid in motion like cycling, hiking, kayaking, etc. can be easier on your body. This more “fluid body motion” sport can still provide you with a good cardio workout.
  2. As it is human nature, the older we get, the more resistant we become to change. When it comes to changing sports, don’t look at it as you are old and one step away from assisted living, but rather as a new athletic frontier to concur. Embrace a change in sports with passion and enjoyment.
  3. Remember that you have a day job for a reason! You do not have to play sports at all cost to win or push beyond your physical limits. Besides, the Senior PGA Champions Tour, there are not many professional sports for people over 40. An older athlete should still feel the competitive juice flow, but not to the point of getting out of your physical comfort zone. This is when injuries can occur.
  4. The quality of life provided by feeling fit and staying active is really the goal we gain from participating in sports. Therefore, select a sport or sports that you can consistently participate in without constantly getting hurt. It doesn’t make much sense to play hard in a sport from your youth, then get hurt and be laid up for days or weeks without any activity and then when better, repeat the same fitness cycle. Now go find your “Fountain of Youth”!