Keep It Loose

Healthy Skier 0302 Pic D

Ward off back injury by keeping your muscles limber. Do these stretches two to three times each week, as well as before and after you ski.

Cross Leg Lie on your back with both knees bent and both feet flat on the floor. Cross your ankle over the opposite knee. Then lift your lower leg, and gently pull it toward your chest.

Forward Bend This stretch can be done while you're sitting at your desk or on the couch watching television. Sit with your feet shoulder-width apart on the floor and your thighs parallel to the ground. Cross your arms over your chest and bend at the waist until your chest touches your lap. Your elbows should be pointing toward the ground. You should feel a stretch in your lower back. Hold the position for 30 seconds, and then slowly return to an upright position. Repeat three times.

Jackknife Lie flat on your back, bend one knee and pull it toward your chest using both hands. Keep the other leg straight on the floor. Switch legs, and repeat.

Right Angle Lie on your back and raise one leg straight up so it's perpendicular to the floor. Support your raised leg behind your thigh. Flex your foot so your toes point toward you. Repeat with the other leg.

For demonstrations of these stretches, go to, keywords "Keep It Loose." ¿D.M.