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Are You Healthy Enough to Ski?

By Charles Hopkins Published 01/19/2007 | Sports

Skiing provides a great form of fun exercise. Most people hate to do anything that is called exercise, but if fun is involved, it isnt considered exercise and skiing is fun! However, as much fun as skiing is, and as much exercise as it provides, skiing should not be used as a way to get in shape. Thats right if you are not in good physical shape, and you want to exercise to get into shape, do not choose skiing as a way to achieve this.

Skiing is a sport that you can participate in when you are already in good physical shape, unless you are disabled, in which case there is specialized equipment to make skiing possible. However, for ordinary non-disabled skiing, a good physical condition is essential to avoid injuries.

Skiing will require you to use every muscle of your body; so obviously, you need to have good strong muscles that can handle the sport. However, the organs are also affected, such as the heart and lungs. You need a strong heart and strong, clear lungs to ski, because the exertion will make breathing a little more difficult, and will cause the lungs and heart to work harder than usual.

Skiing requires you to be at higher altitudes than your body may be accustomed to. This also affects the heart and lungs, as well as the blood vessels. It is a good idea to have a doctor check you out thoroughly and to let him or her know that you plan to go snow skiing. Your doctor will help you determine whether you are in good enough physical condition to ski.

Even expert skiers make it a point to get back into good physical shape before the ski season begins. You will find these skiers doing aerobic training as well as exercises that improve strength, agility, and flexibility. These exercises are done either in the gym, or through other sports.

If you arent in good physical shape, you are more susceptible to injuries out on the slopes. Muscle strain and tears are probable, and more serious conditions, such as a heart attack, could occur as well.

While its ideal to be in tip-top physical condition, you can participate in the sport of skiing to get in shape, as long as you stick to the bunny slopes, or the shorter easy slopes and trails. Do not, however, attempt the intermediate or expert slopes or trails until you are in good physical shape.

Once you do decide that you are ready to hit the slopes, do so slowly. Start on the easiest slopes and work your way up to find your comfort zone from a physical standpoint. If the intermediate slopes and trails are challenging to you, you are not ready for the expert slopes. Stick to the intermediate slopes and trails until they are no longer challenging, then advance to the expert level. You will find, at that point, that you are ready, both physically and skillfully, for the new challenges you will face.