I’m one of those twitchy people that can’t sit still to save my life. I’m also one of those people who is obsessed with the mountains, and with skiing. Alright, I take it back. I’m not obsessed, obsessed like some people. I still fall safely into the weekend warrior category, barely getting in 10 days a season. I have prioritized my career (and my husband’s career, and our savings account) over the free-spirited ski-bum lifestyle. Don’t get me wrong, I often daydream about packing everything up for a small mountain cabin. I imagine I’d work at the local coffee shop, perfectly happy with my minimum wage job because all I really need was snow (don’t ask how I afforded my mountain cabin, ski pass, or car payment). It’s all very romantic, exotic and impossible at the same time, which is absolutely ridiculous because it’s a perfectly accessible lifestyle that my sister lives. Yet, here I am, still the weekend warrior with the 8-5 desk job, savings account and mountain daydreams.
Anyways. I do spend a good amount of my waking hours in the fall anxiously awaiting ski season’s opening day (that I probably won’t actually go to because the snow is awful on opening day) and day dreaming about those blue sky, power days. The point is, I’m always ready for ski season.
Ski conditioning can help you get in shape for the ski season, which will make a huge difference in your season. There are many different exercises that you can do many different ways, like lunges, to prepare your muscles for the strength, endurance, agility and balance depends of skiing. Some exercises can even be done at your desk while you’re busy working hard (and not daydreaming, of course). If you’re like me and can’t sit still these are especially helpful to make your twitching just as productive as you are!
The first thing you need to do it stand up. Like, all day. Get a standing workstation (I use Varidesk, it’s amazing and the basic model that I use costs less than $300). Sitting for hours at a time is bad, and definitely won’t help you get in ski shape. Plus, if you’re standing it’s much easier to take a quick break to complete these exercises. If your boss needs a bit of convincing, here’s a great study that showed standing workstations improve employees health (read: lower healthcare costs) without compromising productivity. If a standing desk isn’t an option for you, then just stand up from time to time (you didn’t really think I’d actually let you think you were exercising while you stayed glued to your chair, did you?).
Basic lunges, static lunges and elevated single leg lunges can all be done at your desk. I personally really enjoy doing elevated single leg lunges, using my desk chair (yes, I still have a chair in my office). Since my desk chair rolls, the exercise requires additional core activation to help maintain balance.
These are perfect for people like me that have to always move. They take very little focus so you don’t even have to stop working! Simply shift your weight forward to the front of your feet and lift your heels off the ground, so that you’re standing on your toes. You can hold this position, or immediately drop your heels back down and repeat the movement. Once you are comfortable with the movement, you can also lift one foot off the ground (tuck it behind your leg or keep it statically elevated) so that you can complete the movement entirely with the one foot.
These are great for leg strength and balance! Shift your weight to one foot and engage the muscles in that leg. Lift the opposite leg off the ground, in a slow and controlled manner. Lift the leg to the side as high as your flexibility will allow before slowly lowering the leg back down. Repeat this movement on both sides. You can also lift your leg forward or backward, and I recommend incorporating all three of those movement planes into this exercise!
Squat is a weird frumpy word, which is silly because it’s such an amazing movement. Anyways, of course you can and should do squats as part of your desk ski conditioning workout! Start with your feet hips distance apart. Bend at both the knees and the hip, slowly lower yourself down as far as you can go (without pain). While traditionally we are taught to only squat to “90”, it is actually better (for strength development and injury prevention) to squat though the full range of motion. Push your butt backwards and down, keep your heel on ground the entire time, and keep your back flat (do this by engaging your core). Once you have gone as far down as your flexibility will allow, push yourself back up! For an added balance challenge, move your feet close together (like your skiing) and try squatting this way.
Do It At Work
It make a great desk workout, simply stop what you’re doing every hour or so and complete 5-20 repetitions of each of these movements! Then go for a quick walk around the office (get coffee, be social), climb a staircase and return to work! If anyone asks what you’re doing, simply tell them you’re increasing your productivity.