Cross-country skiing is a demanding full-body sport. It exercises numerous muscles all over the body, including the arms, legs, shoulders, thighs, abdomen and waist, and takes good balance and agility. You don’t have to be a body-builder or a pro athlete to enjoy cross-country skiing, but being in good shape and doing some fitness conditioning beforehand will greatly decrease the chances of your ski trip ending in huffing, puffing and sore muscles not long after it has begun.
Getting in shape to ski, as with any other kind of body conditioning, takes some time. If you plan to ski this winter, start your body conditioning during the summer so that you’ll have time to tone, strengthen and sculpt your body into a better skiing machine. Whatever you do, don’t read all about conditioning, plan to condition, and then try to start your conditioning two weeks before you leave for your trip.
Strength training and muscle toning are what you should emphasize in your conditioning routine. Health clubs and gyms often have exercise equipment made to emulate the same movements as skiing; ask the instructors which machines you should use. Such workout classics as sit-ups and crunches can also tone and strengthen your body’s trunk. Good posture is essential for skiing, and having a strong torso makes it much easier to maintain this posture.
Weight-lifting is one of the best ways to tone your arms, legs and shoulders. Lunges, overhead pulls, rowing, bicep curls and bench presses are all greatly beneficial to the muscles you’ll use while skiing. In tone rather than gain bulk, lift small weights at a fairly rapid pace. Slower lifts and heavier weights cause muscles to bulk up, which will work against your agility somewhat.
Remember, you don’t have to be in perfect condition to start skiing. Once you’re in shape enough not to get too worn out doing so, the act of skiing itself will work out all of the muscles your exercise routine does. If skiing strikes your fancy, you’ve got a lifetime of fun winter sports and total fitness ahead of you.