Saturday, April 28, 2012

Stretches for Skiing's Post-Season

Hip flexors, how I need to stretch thee.
It's not tough to destroy your body skiing. That's how I feel after chasing my husband down the mountain for a few days, especially if I follow him into the bumps. My arms and shoulders hurt from carrying my skis to and from the car. My quads start to burn from crouching most of the day--and often not resting them on the chairlift with the help of the safety bar. And get me turning a lot on groomers and sure enough, the hip "pinch" that we learned to recognize for good turns around the gates (to my teammate Mel: I still remember you etching that term into our brains) is back but not in a good way--my hip will ache until the end of the day, even in the hot tub.

Yeah, I know I probably sound like I'm an old cripple--it's my running legs wreaking havoc on my skiing, I swear--yet I'll do it again and again. Point blank: I love to ski. When you don't live in the mountains and only get one, maybe two, trips to the mountains each year, you ski until your legs are ready to fall off on the final day you're at the higher elevation. Wouldn't you do it, too? But in order to ski as often as I sometimes do, the trips to the hot tub don't always help. I need to stretch. You know how it goes: fix the kinks in the system, loosen up the tight muscles (ahem, hip flexors, I'm talking to you), and let the body recover so it can take another day on the slopes.

Now if only there were a magic formula for stretching. Look through an exercise book or fitness magazine or the ACE exercise library and it gets mighty intimidating. I can't say it's the magic cure all, but I pulled together some yoga-based stretches that helped me through my recent rough patch--you should have seen me sprawled out on the floor in half pigeon to stop my hip from aching (it worked). You might not be able to use the info from my latest post to bounce back after a tough ski day since the season is practically over (only a handful of North American places are still open) but they'll help you recovery from however you tormented your body this season and start prepping it for next year or the summer ahead.

What stretches do you do after a day of intense exercise?

Photo grabbed from lululemon athletica.

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