Preparing yourself for winter sports|
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If a person regularly does exercise throughout the year, do they still need to prepare themselves for winter sports?
It seems logical that a person who regularly does some form of physical activity will be more at ease once they put their skis on, and being used to working their muscles, joints and cardiovascular system, they'll be able to resist fatigue more easily throughout the day (and therefore be less at risk of falls and injuries).
Should a specific diet be adopted before and during a winter sports trip?
As a health professional, I can only advise people to adopt a healthy balanced diet all year round...
During your trip, it's essential to eat a solid breakfast every morning that's rich in carbohydrates so that you'll be able to keep going until lunchtime. During your lunch break, keep up your carb consumption (a sandwich will do the trick!) and avoid foods that are too fatty or heavy such as excess amounts of cooked meats.
Carry cereal bars, gels, dried fruits/nuts which will help you overcome an energy slump, without forgetting to hydrate yourself, of course. Despite the cold, you can quickly get dehydrated in the mountains.
But even though holidays are a time to enjoy yourself, don't be fooled into thinking that you're using up an enormous quantity of calories, so don't go stuffing yourself... Eat slow carbs (starchy foods) in moderation in the evening.
For children, are there any rules to respect to avoid sports-related cuts and scrapes?
It's important to always remember that children are a lot more fragile than adults. They're more sensitive to tiredness, to the cold and especially to shocks, so start by limiting the risks of larger knocks:
- glasses and helmets are obligatory,
- equipment must be suitable and checked by a professional,
- speed must be restricted,
- and teach them about the basic rules of safety at a young age.
And for the cold (made worse by the wind), protect sensitive and exposed parts such as faces, and don't forget to get them to drink plenty at the end of the day.
A final piece of advice before indulging in winter sports?
Don't be overly confident, especially on the first day. The equipment used nowadays is very high-performance and you'll reach your physical limit well before it does! It would be a shame to spoil your holiday...
And warm up properly. Increase your heart rate when you're on the way to the slopes, by taking the stairs instead of the lift, for example.
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Health and Fitness Editor