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Tune Your Body for Skiing

A lot of us believe that the secret to better skiing is better equipment. Let’s face it—the sport equipment companies are very convincing. So we spend hundreds of dollars getting top-of-the-line equipment, we dream of strapping it on and taking that great run.

But to ensure a great ski season, there’s one vital piece of equipment: your body. Even with all your state-of-art equipment, you need your body to be at its peak. Your body needs to be more than strong; it needs to be loose, aligned and relaxed to assure top performance.

What Others Don’t Tell You

Life just seems to happen, right? You wake up one morning after a hard day on the slopes, stiff, tired and sore. It’s like your body is saying, “Hey! Newsflash! You’re not young anymore!” What happened to that body that could ski all weekend and play all night?

We blame age, but that’s not it. We do lose our edge over time, but that’s because of stress, injuries, bad habits, years of hard work, maybe some minor accidents, never stretching—this all causes your body to gradually tighten and misalign. And that’s why you wake up stiff, sore and feeling battered.

But the secret is, the inherent gifts of childhood—suppleness, strength, natural alignment—are recoverable, and even upgradable.

Upgrade Your Body

Over time, every stress—even minor incidents, like occasional back pain—produces scar tissue. If you were a butcher, you would call this scar tissue gristle. And it increasingly restricts your body’s movement. As your body tightens, it causes misalignment. A tight and misaligned body cannot perform as well as it did with the suppleness of youth, which explains that stiff, sore, battered feeling.

You may have tried stretching, or some kind of bodywork therapy, only to be more frustrated with your body. But the problem could be that your soft tissue is now solid gristle. To get a body that can truly stretch, many people need remedial help.

The Solution – The Secret to Sustainable Peak Performance

If you want a different result, try a different solution. To change that gristle back to soft tissue, you must release it. Yes, it will release. Meat can be tenderized, and your tight soft tissue can become resilient again. With slow pressure, that gristly connective tissue fibers in and around your muscles can become supple again. The bio-chemical change in the fiber comes, in part, from increased circulation. As the circulation and movement increases, the once self-perpetuating tightening process reverses, and your increased movement loosens your tissue even more.

Everything from a good massage to very specific assisted stretching can move you in this direction. The fast trackers will often see me for Rolfing. For more than 30 years, I have helped elite athletes not only recover from injury, but improve their performance.

When I was working with Olympic athletes and professional ball players, my clinic did a study with Arizona State University on elite runners. Every Rolfing subject alleviated their injuries and set new personal records. The body is amazing in its ability to regenerate. It only needs a little help.

Over the years, we have grown to see the importance of stretching, rest, core strength (as Rolfers, we were promoting all this 30 years ago) and our mind’s attitude as being critical to increasing our performance and pleasure. The remaining question is, what do we do about our past sins? All the above will be limited if our bodies are tight and misaligned. To achieve the most from these activities, and our bodies, we need to reverse the years of stress.

Your Best Investment

Invest in your most important equipment—your body. The risk is low and the potential gain is high. Not only can your old injuries improve or disappear, but you may also find that you have the ease and joy of a child’s body once again. I would be as happy to speak to you about your options as I would be to work with you. But whatever you do, I suggest you step out of the traditional box to get nontraditional results.

Owen Marcus, MA Certified Advance Rolfer, www.align.org, 265.8440.

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