As much as we hate to admit it, it’s almost the off-season. Some might say good riddance, wishing for the snow to be gone sooner rather than later to start hitting the trails and links. Others might be pushing the rewind button, ready and willing to backtrack to winter, even if it was a warm one, to ski to their hearts’ content. But regardless of the category you fall into, you can reap the benefits of some time off the skis. I know it doesn’t sound so ideal, especially if you’re a mountain lover, but trust me, your body could use a little R&R.
Recovery doesn’t have to be fancy or complex. It doesn’t have to happen only at the end of the season, though you may as well start now to give you a leg up for summer and next season. And it doesn’t have to wait until your body is so ravaged from your snow sessions that you’re looking at multiple hot tub soaks, massage sessions and maybe even physical therapy.
It’s simple. It’s the quick fix to help heal—and lengthen and strengthen—all those muscles, joints, tendons and other bruises (maybe egos?) that you destroyed, in a good way, on the mountain. It's stretching. For starters, you can try these yoga-derived stretches for those aches and pains.
Problem: My back hurts.Fix: Supine spinal twist How it works: This stretch helps relieve back pain by stretching and relaxing the spine. An added perk: the twisting motion stimulates your digestive system.
Problem: My hips are aching.Fix: Pigeon poseHow it works: Animal name aside, this is a bona fide hip opener that also stretches your back, thighs, groin and psoas—all body parts that get worked out while skiing.
Problem: My quads are tired.Fix: Bow poseHow it works: You’ll really feel this stretch opening up your front body, especially tight quads, as it strengthens your back muscles. If I’m more tight than usual, which isn’t saying much, the quad burn kills. But pain is temporary and so worth it for the stretching.
Problem: My hamstrings are tight.Fix: Happy babyHow it works: You get to lay on your back for this one but tight hamstrings make this move appear easier than it feels. That’s at least until your hamstrings become more relaxed and stretchy.
Problem: My calves throb.Fix: Standing forward bendHow it works: It’s not your ski boots destroying your calves--they’re tight from skiing. This simple release will improve calf flexibility. Or amp it up and move from forward bend into downward facing dog. With your hips high and feet pressing into the ground, your calves have no choice but to unwind.
Problem: My hip pinches.Fix: Frog poseHow it works: Singlehandedly the most difficult stretch listed here, this position offers a deep stretch for your inner thighs and hips. It brought me near tears once but my hips thanked me afterward—and I’d like to think I was a stronger skier this season as a result.
But these moves come with a warning: Stretching might sound simpler than it actually is, especially if you’re ailing and tight in all your overworked ski muscles. Sure it might feel painful now, especially if you’re a first timer, but your body will thank you later.
What stretches help loosen your muscles after skiing?
Photo credit: lululemon athletica