Come on now ... bend and stretch

18th October 2009, by Chris Gill

Fit from inside - the Wii way

Fit from inside - the Wii way

There are lots of fun ways to get fit to ski that are great for families, beginners or slipping into a busy working day. And the fitter you are, the more you’ll enjoy your winter adventures – and lower your risk of injury.

Walking: It doesn’t sound that energetic, yet research has shown that walking is one of the best forms of exercise. And here at WTSS, we’re great fans. You don’t need to yomp up mountains: regular brisk walks in the park, countryside, or around your town will get you breathing hard and stretch your legs. Just get a map and some suitable footwear and off you go… add in a few hills too for maximum benefit. It’s great for core fitness too.

Cycling: A couple of hours on a bike can provide a similar level of exercise as running, but is less injury-prone and a good family activity too. And if you hadn’t noticed, Britain is becoming more cycle-friendly. We’ve got some catching up to do compared with our continental cousins, but there’s progress: new cycle paths join a network of quiet lanes that link up towns. Pedal and explore.

Fitness classes: If you go to the gym, why not try a fitness class? Most leisure centres offer circuits, boxercise, aerobics, pilates … the list seems endless. They can be highly motivational and a great laugh; you’ll make friends and find yourself looking forward to each class too.

Boxercise: Punching and kicking things? Well, kind of: boxercise is instructor-managed where yes you do punch your partner – using gloves and pads of course. You’ll get taught to kick properly too. You work at your own level, and can be a great all-body and aerobic workout.

Climbing walls: If your local area has a climbing centre, get the family down there for some fun. Climbing is a fantastic way to strengthen muscles and increase suppleness. You can hire the kit and tuition if you’ve never climbed before. And it’s great for a rainy day activity.

Bouldering and scrambling: Along with climbing, bouldering stretches the parts other sports just don’t seem to reach – from your fingers to your toes. Basically, it’s clambering over and around rocks. All you need are some big rocks – and a crash mat/helmets, if you plan to take it seriously.

Wii Fit: If the idea of exercise by computer game sounds odd to you, you’re not alone! But a brief “play” in a friend’s lounge changed our minds. The programme instructs you through a series of strength and balance exercises; the Wii Fit handset and balance board senses and scores your performance. There are even weekly targets to aim for. The skiing games are a fun distraction – wedel your way down a slalom course or leap off an imaginary ski jump, for example.

Roller skis, blades and skateboards: these days roller skiing is used as core training for professional ski racers. All of these are beneficial for developing good balance and coordination, as well as leg strength. It might not be for you, but it’s perfect for your kids to train and have fun. Just make sure they pad-up because concrete is hard!

Dancing: bopping around on the dance floor (or tables!) is a fantastic way to keep core muscles fit. And if you do it in your ski boots while away, it’s a great way to loosen up the legs muscles in between runs! Scores high on the ‘feel good’ factor too.

NB: If you’ve have had a recent injury or illness, or don’t regularly exercise, do check with your GP first before you try any of these sports. And you should do some warm-up exercises before you begin.

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