The transition into winter sports can sometimes be a rocky one.

It is often during the changeover season that most injuries occur, because the body is not used to the change in exercise. If you are about to change your level of activity significantly in the next few weeks or months, it is a very good idea to make an effort to get in some consistent gym time just before your winter sport starts- and performing movement that is similar to your new activity is a very good idea.

For example- if you are a downhill skiier, start increasing your quad strength by doing walking lunges- start with 75 walking lunges and work your way up to 3 or 4 sets, along with your current leg weight lifting regime. The more quad strength you have, the better knee protection you have and you will be less likely to hurt yourself on the hill.

(If 75 walking lunges seems like a lot, then you might want to rethink spending full days on the ski hill, and start with half days to build up strength!)

Cross country skiiers can benifit from any exercise that activates glut and hamstring muscles- it is these muscles that should be primarily activated for proper skiing technique. Incorrect technique can lead to overuse of the hip flexors and cause a hip bursitis that can be difficult to treat. 

Indoor soccer, squash and  tennis are all sports which require sudden pivots and sharp movements, usually with a bent knee. Knee injuries are the most common with this type of  movement if the proprioceptive system (the nerve endings that interpret where your body is in space) fails to work properly.  The best exercises to train your proprioceptive system are usually exercises involving balance or core stability. For training the lower body this can be as simple as one legged balancing with the knee slightly bent, to as complex as pistol squats on a bosu ball. 

Your personal trainer, athletic therapist or another qualified trainer can give you pointers on the proper way to perform these exercises safely and effectively. Please consult a specialist before attempting a new exercise on your own if you have no prior experience. 

-Dr. Guthrie