From alpine skiing to snowboarding, winter sports allows us to appreciate nature in a whole new way.
But while we love the thrill of fast first tracks, racing down a mountainside puts extra stress on ankles, calves, knees, hips and back. The added ankle restriction from stiff boots requires good hip mobility to prevent knee and back pain.
Adding a simple recovery routine to your après ski activities will help your body recover, prepare your muscles for the next day, and help maintain elasticity in vital joints and muscle groups.
Motion is lotion
Stretching can help restore mobility. However, when combined with muscle release, it is a lot more effective and can maximize your recovery and help prevent injury.
Foam rolling and self-massage will help reduce inflammation, stretch the muscles and generate myofascial release. This thin sheath of connective tissue that surrounds muscle is difficult to stretch, however gentle pressure will eliminate pain and restore motion.
Your recovery toolkit
You’ll need a foam roller and a few balls approximately 6cm to 10cm (tennis balls will work, but a set of massage ball will work better).
Focus on the muscle groups that have worked hard in the snow, particularly the front of the thighs (quadriceps), calves, butt (glutes) and back.
Use the foam roller to slowly roll over the main muscle groups. Rolling will help break up adhesions and scar tissue and speed the healing and recovery process. With the massage balls, you can pinpoint and ease tight myofascial and knots in your muscles. Both work by using the body’s natural response to pressure. As you roll the tight spots or trigger points, the muscle relaxes.
Whatever way you take on the mountains this winter, be sure and give your body the care it needs so that you can enjoy the season to its fullest.