Why Skiing Makes You Sore? (7 Tips to Recover Fast)

by Brandi Allen | Updated On: May 20th, 2020
skiing girl

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The last thing you want to hear when you start up a new hobby is, “you’re going to be sore tomorrow.” Hearing that might even deter you from trying certain activities altogether. On the other hand, you might be looking for a sport that promises that after workout burn. So whether you shy away from strenuous exercise or you’re a “feel the burn” junkie, you’re probably wondering, “Will skiing make me sore?”

Skiing is a full-body workout. So, yes, skiing will make you sore. You could experience some aches and pains both while skiing and primarily in the days to follow. Of course, how to hurt you are, depends on how in shape you are, to begin with, as well as how much you push yourself on the slopes and what steps you take to recover later.

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Why Skiing Makes You Sore

For starters, skiing is exercise. If you’re doing a workout the right way, you can guarantee that you feel a little sore afterward, or that you are at least more aware of specific muscle groups. Because it requires both flexibility and balance, your leg and abdominal muscles need to be in top shape, as do your heart and lungs. Skiing is also an aerobic exercise meaning that regular exercise that keeps your heart rate up will help train your body for skiing as well.

The twisting and turning your body must do to stay in control on the hill works your core and abs. Meanwhile, bending your knees in a squatting position helps you stay balanced.

Rather than generating force to kick a ball, run, or throw, your muscles have to work to resist external forces when skiing. Therefore, your muscles must be trained to work against gravity when skiing downhill.

The kind of workout that resists forces rather than exerts force causes more soreness throughout the following days. Although you might not notice it as much during while you’re skiing. That postponed discomfort is called “delayed onset muscle soreness.” It is caused when your muscles contract and, at the same time, lengthen, resulting in micro muscle traumas

The microscopic tears that occur in your muscles after a workout like skiing are nothing to be concerned about. However, these tears go on to cause further inflammation in your muscles. It then leads to soreness and stiffness, mostly felt in the legs.

Because your muscles react so differently to skiing vs. other sports, you must train specifically for skiing. Not only are you using different muscles, but the way you use these muscles is very different.

What You Can Do to Prevent Tight, Achy Muscles

There are a few things you can do before, during, and after skiing to ease the pain of sore muscles. It might take a little effort to take these precautions, but you’ll notice a considerable difference in your muscles, especially in the following days.

Before Skiing

1. Train

Even though cardio exercises like cycling or running won’t work your muscles in the same way that skiing does, it doesn’t mean you won’t benefit by including these workouts in your routine. Skiing requires a lot of cardio endurance, so any activity that gets your heart rate up and keeps your moving will strengthen your heart and lungs. It is suggested that 3 to 5 days a week, you incorporate lung strengthening, endurance building exercises into your workout.

Because skiing works all your major muscle groups strengthening those muscles will also lessen the impact skiing has on your body. Focus on the following muscle areas and reduce the pain you feel after skiing.

Read our full guide to ski exercises you can do to prepare for the season.

While Your Skiing

2. Stay Hydrated

Drink plenty of water and electrolyte-heavy drinks. Staying hydrated decreases your risk of muscle soreness, and the electrolytes can relieve muscle aches.

Additionally, you need to avoid drinking caffeine and alcohol while you’re skiing. This will only increase your chances of dehydration and muscle soreness.

3. Ski With Proper Technique

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Learning to ski with the correct posture will save you a lot of muscle aches from your legs up to your neck and head. Putting too much weight on the ski poles can also hurt your arms and wrists. Consider taking a lesson to learn proper techniques that will make skier safer and more comfortable.

At the End of the Day

What you do immediately after skiing can affect how hard the next day muscle aches hit.

4. Keep Moving

You might be tempted to fall into bed after a long day of skiing; however, if you can reduce muscle pain if you take a short walk. It will increase blood flow and prevent your muscles from stiffening up.

5. Take a Hot Bath

Warming up your muscles with a hot bath or shower can do wonders for achy muscles. Ideally, adding Epson salts to a bath can help with muscle pain. If you have a Jacuzzi or hot tub with jets, that’s even better as massaging the muscles will also ease painful tension in your body.

6. Use Ice Packs and Heat Packs

Ice helps reduce inflammation in the body while heat relaxes the muscles. Alternating the two temperatures can improve the recovery time after skiing.

7. Speak to a Doctor about taking Painkiller

When used as intended, pain killers like ibuprofen and Tylenol can alleviate pain caused by skiing. If you are having trouble sleeping because of the pain, taking a mild pain killer can help you get a good night’s rest and allow your body to heal itself while you sleep. You should always check with your doctor before starting new pain medications and only use as directed.

The skiing itself is not generally a painful activity and should be enjoyed. However, like all sport, your muscles get worked, and they are tight and tired afterward. But like most sports and exercises, the benefits far outweigh the pain. Skiing After a few rounds of skiing, you’ll be more in shape and will hardly notice the aches any longer.

Simon Naylor, the founder of New To Ski, started skiing in 2005. He has continued to practice his skills and wanted to share his journey and knowledge with other new skiers. He launched New To Ski in 2018 to help first-time skiers have more fun on the slopes and get out and explore the mountains safely.