Grand County, if you’re not in shape for ski season yet, now’s the time to start preparing
SKY-HI DAILY NEWS
Summer may not be officially over, but now’s the time for skiers to begin preparing physically for ski season.
Jeff Russell, a physical therapist at Alpine Physical Therapy and Wellness Center in Fraser, teaches one of the Winter Sports Conditioning classes offered at Alpine.
He re-engineered the strength and conditioning class several years ago “to reduce stresses on joints and optimize performance as well as hopefully minimize (injuries.)”
He will lead a pre-season class on Mondays and Wednesdays at the start of October.
The classes, which last for seven weeks, are an hour long. About 10 people are allowed in each class. Only a couple spots are still open, he said.
Alpine has also started offering early season classes after the preseason ones for people who need to start conditioning later.
Classes include stretches, core work, strength and balance techniques, aerobics and a cool down.
The workouts are “progressive,” Russell said.
“Each week we challenge them a little more. By the end of the class we hope that people are still being challenged,” he said. “We’re really trying to help people cut down on ski injuries. It helps people also enjoy their skiing more. Skiing is a balance sport. If you can improve your balance your skiing becomes an element of finesse.”
Class members participate in one-footed skills. They’re put in off-balance positions and taught how to recover, so if they get off-balanced skiing they don’t fall.
Everyone from high schoolers to retirees have attended.
The exercise is helpful for anyone who lives in Grand County because of the snow and the ice in the winter. It helps people recover if they slip on the ice, and strengthens people’s backs for shoveling, Russell added.
Michele Snow, a fitness instructor for Granby Rec Department, believes people should stay in shape year-round.
“That’s why I teach the fitness classes all year-round,” she said. “When you work out on a regular basis … you enjoy it that much more when it comes easy to you.”
People should exercise five days a week, she added. “People get more out of all the recreational sports when they make working out a part of a daily or weekly routine.”
She offers seven classes a week. They feature weight lifting, plyometrics, interval training, and abdominal work, all of which help get people ready for the ski season. Weight training and heart and lung exercises are important for ski conditioning, Snow said.
She alters her classes so they are never the same.
“I really believe strongly that your workout routine shouldn’t be a routine,” she said.
The routine alters among kick boxing, lifting heavy weights with low repetition, cardio intervals, push-ups, sit-ups, high repetition weights with light weights and running.
“There’s a lot of value in running ” in moderation it’s a great thing,” she said. “The only thing that gets a little tricky is kick boxing ” if you’ve never done it before.”
Each of the classes last four to six weeks. She offers seven classes from Monday through Thursday. All offer a “pretty intense type of conditioning,” she says.
The classes last 45 minutes to an hour. There is not a class size limit.
“I feel it’s good for everybody,” she said. “They say how much it kicks their butt, how much they get out of it. I have so many people who are so devoted to coming and it’s just part of their routine and part of their life. It really has been life-changing for people who were in bad shape.”
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