Winter sports lovers unite!
Winter is here, and many of us are excited to hit the slopes or trails for winter sports fun. However, it’s important to remember that these activities use different muscle groups and put greater force on our joints, making it crucial to prepare our bodies properly. Without proper preparation, you are at a greater risk of getting a winter sports injury.
If you’re someone who enjoys both summer and winter sports, bear in mind that they require different areas of strength in the body. Hip and core strength are particularly important for proper rotation for skiing and snowboarding. If, according to Ben Franklin, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” a little prehabilitation focusing on strengthening and improving mobility is worth a winter of fun. Plus, it will improve your performance on the slopes!
First and foremost, if you have an injury or pain that pops up now and then, get it evaluated. When pain is present, the body naturally compensates for it and places pressure on other body parts, creating a snowball effect. What seems like a minor issue now can turn into an injury that ruins your season. The moral of the story is to tune into any pain present in your body and relay that to your physical therapist. Doing so will help ensure the appropriate therapies are recommended and implemented.
But that’s not all!
It’s essential to take certain precautions to prevent a winter sports injury. Here are a few more tips to help you stay injury-free:
1. Warm up before hitting the slopes or trails. Perform some light exercises that stretch and activate the muscles you’ll be using. Instead of parking close to the lifts, park a little further away. Carrying your skis or board while wearing clunky boots is a great way to warm up! Do a warm-up run or three on some easy trails to ensure you are ready for more advanced terrain.
2. Wear appropriate gear, including helmets, goggles, and proper footwear. Make sure your gear fits properly and is in good condition. If you enjoy winter running, use traction cleats to keep you on your feet instead of your bottom (and wear wrist guards in case you do fall!).
3. Stay hydrated and fueled with healthy snacks throughout the day. Whenever you stop to go to the bathroom, drink a glass of water.
4. Take breaks and listen to your body. If you’re feeling fatigued or experiencing pain, take a break to rest and recover. If you are still not feeling great, follow the advice on number six below.
5. Learn proper techniques and skills before attempting more advanced moves. Get a lesson if needed – even expert skiers and boarders can benefit from a refresher to advance their abilities.
6. Don’t push yourself beyond your limits. Know when to stop and seek medical attention if necessary.
Following these tips can help prevent a winter sports injury and make the most of the fresh air and invigorating temperatures. 🙂 We are here to help whenever you need us. Please do not hesitate to ask questions or request an appointment with one of our expert physical therapists.