- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 25, 2015

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (AP) - When the snow starts falling, people think of tuning up their skis or snowboard. You might check out your boots and bindings to make sure everything works right for the coming season.

But tuning up your body for the coming winter season is probably more important.

Many major ski resorts plan to open around the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. There’s still time to get yourself in shape to enjoy the good snow when it piles up by mid-December. I’ve compiled a few good reasons to get off your duff and tune up your body.

Perhaps the best is to prevent injuries. A body that’s in shape is less likely to suffer injuries from falls, muscle tears and fatigue-related problems.

You might feel great after the first run down the hill or three miles into the backcountry on the trails, but on that third run down the hill when you need the extra power to make a certain technical turn or to avoid someone or something, the body just may not respond when you need it to. Then pow! You’ve twisted your ankle or knee or slammed down on a wrist or shoulder.

Another good reason (my favorite) is that you’ll enjoy your activity more when you’re in shape. I like being able to slap the skins on my skis and chug up hills away from the crowds while cross-country or backcountry skiing. Rather than an out-of-breath grind up and down the slope for your fourth run of the day - just to get your money’s worth - in-shape skiers find it a joy to get in that extra last run.

So now that you know you need to get your body tuned up, what’s the best way?

The simplest and fastest way is to start running. If you have a treadmill, use it. If not, get outside or to the gym. If your joints don’t enjoy the pounding of running (like mine), an elliptical running machine works great. Or you can join a spinning class at a local gym. These exercises tune up the three most important areas: heart, lungs and legs.

As for the rest of your body, simple exercises such as push-ups, sit-ups and pull-ups will do wonders. (Of course, there’s always indoor rock climbing.) Stretching and yoga exercises also work wonders to prevent injuries.

Time to get after it - the season is nearly here.

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