Guest Author - Carol Viau
As the we enjoy the summer season in the northern hemisphere, here are a few ideas for keeping you in shape for your favorite winter sport, whether you prefer snowboarding, alpine, telemark or cross country skiing.
Surfing is a must try for anyone living near the ocean, or anyone considering a vacation to the beach. While the paddle out to the waves can be challenging, it will help strengthen the back and arm muscles,as well as the core abdomen muscles. Once you catch a wave it will test your balance like no other sport! The sideways stance, athletic position with knees, ankles and hips flexed is similar to snowboarding. The similarities between surfing and snowboarding donít end with the stance though. In both, the rider (or surfer)will have their arms out to the side to assist with balance. Ideally, they are both looking ahead, instead of looking down at their feet. The eyes, hips and shoulders will change direction simultaneously, acting as one unit to follow the desired direction of travel. The weight of both will alter between the heel and the toe, and the abdomen is engaged to assist with a change in direction. The conditions are constantly changing in front of both rider and surfer, and the weather plays a big role in both sports. Surfing, as you can see, is a fantastic way to keep up your snowboarding skills.
Skateboarding is most common among young adults, and it also has many similarities to snowboarding. The athletic stance, the shift in weight between the heel and the toe, and looking ahead are all important characteristics of the sport. Urban skate parks are becoming more popular and there is even one in my town. It is now common to see adults participating in the skate park too, sharing the space with kids one third their age! The best advice I can give anyone skateboarding is to wear a helmet, knee, elbow and wrist pads.
Horseback riding may have you thinking of a leisurely stroll down a path, but it doesnít have to be. If you own a horse or have access to one, there are many challenging options regarding riding them. For English saddle riders there are show jumping and steeplechase courses. For Western saddle riders; barrel racing, pole bending and cutting are popular. Both groups often have local clubs that put on these type of events. The inner thigh muscles get a tough workout riding a horse that is moving around a lot and the abdomen is continuously engaged.
All of these activities will tone your muscles, keep your reflexes quick, and enhance your balance for all winter sports. Keep in mind we need all these things for daily life too!