But the body of an office worker?!
The snow is falling already up in the mountains, and this year is definitely the year you’ll become the new Aimee Fuller or Billy Morgan – landing that 900 perhaps, or maybe just making it down your first red run intact!!
Either way, the boarding season is upon us again, and hopefully you have a trip to a great resort (with or without half-pipe – we can all dream) planned and paid for. But if you’ve just spent the last 11 months on a train commuting to London or sitting at your desk in Sussex, never mind what your heart is, is your body really in the best shape for snowboarding?
Are you ready for the pain?
You can tell I’m a big snowboarding fan. It’s brilliant fun, we all know that. But if you look past the fun, it is also a very intense sport. When you speed down the slopes, your legs are soaking up a lot of punishment. Every lump and bump needs to be absorbed by your leg muscles, or you run the risk of being thrown off…no doubt to the amusement of everyone watching from the lift. Your knees are taking that punishment too! Keeping the classic ‘loose, bent knee’ stance is tiring not just for your muscles, but for the ligaments around the knee that keep it all stable.
Apart from your poor old knees, you’re also at risk of straining other muscles and ligaments through over-use or hitting a mogul too fast. Snowboarding is a very one-sided sport: you face one way on the board, and tend to hold that position for most of the day, unless you’re able to ride switch and mix the day up a bit.
One way too many
The one-sided way of riding can lead to further issues. Your abdominal muscles have to get used to holding your body in that rotated position, and also to maintaining balance and helping with shifting your weight for turning. And it’s not so much the ‘six-pack’ muscles at the front, but the lesser known transverse abdominals that run around your core from back to front that take most of the work.
From experienced to novice boarder, we’ve all fallen over after catching an edge, which results in landing either on your knees or rear, often quite painfully. And falling leads to one of the most common injuries for snowboarders: damaged wrists. The usual response to catching a toe-edge and falling forwards (or even falling backwards from a heel-edge) is to put out your arms to catch yourself.
Pistes are also often harder than you realise, and landing on your hands may well result in a nasty sprain, or even a fracture. Unfortunately, that impact will be transferred up the arm and into the shoulder complex, often resulting in muscle and joint strains through the shoulder and upper back or neck. And that heavy board can also cause problems if you fall: sometimes the momentum you had down the piste is retained by the board, and it can end up pulling your legs up behind you, straining your back and hips.
It all makes for not much of a knees up
But I don’t want you to cancel your trip, far from it. What I do suggest is that you take what steps you can to get your body into the shape of a snowboarder and make sure you don’t leave any injuries untreated.
Proper preparation is key. Finding any imbalances or underlying problems before you go will often prevent or minimise problems that do occur. A few sessions of treatment in the weeks leading up to your trip, working on maximising strength, flexibility and mobility, will help you feel more relaxed and able to cope on the slopes.
And if you do come home with a few aches and pains, osteopathy can help with recovery. Improving blood flow to tired or strained muscles maintains and aids recovery, while working to loosen tight muscles and joints can return you to normal life more quickly than rest alone.
Knees are a very important joint, and are one of the most common areas osteopaths work on. Our work can help maintain muscle health and strength around the knee, and keep ligaments in peak condition, all of which helps to keep the knee working properly. Often, simple treatment for an injured muscle/ligament can aid recovery and speed your return to the slopes, or at the least reduce pain and swelling in the area.
And as you start to feel better, we all know that this time next year, you’ll be putting yourself through it all over again…
Call us today to arrange your free 15-minute consultation. Or to just book your appointment with Adam Wilson