Recently an article was posted in The News Tribune from Tacoma, Washington regarding avoiding injuries while downhill skiing or snowboarding. With winter in full swing, here are some of the tips you should remember to avoid injuring yourself, whether you're skiing, sledding, ice skating, or just shoveling snow!
Most people will injure themselves when they are fatigued or not properly conditioned for the activity they want to enjoy. In skiing, this is the last run of the day ( or weekend) especially after sitting at a desk the entire week before! But the same can be said for other winter activities like shoveling snow. If you sit all week at work and then have to get up in the morning to shovel your car out, you are at high risk for injury as well. So what can you do to avoid these injuries?
Stretch! Stretching improves flexibility of your muscles as well as helps you to maintain proper joint mobility. Yet many people skip stretching. If one joint is stiff, other joints above and below provide compensation that can lead to "wear and tear" injuries. Simple stretches for the major muscle groups can help to maintain proper mobility. If you sit all week, stretch your hip flexors, quadriceps, hamstrings, and low back. Stretches don't have to take forever. Two repetitions of each stretch for 30 seconds is all it takes. Incorporate stretching into your daily routine and it will become a good habit that helps protect you from injury!
Activity Specific Training! Your muscles will work better and be less likely to fail you if you have trained them to do the activity you want to participate in. Downhill skiing requires you to be in a semi-squat position, moving side to side, have balance, and perform some ballistic movements. Good activities for training for skiing include the wall sit, box jumps, single leg hopping, lateral jumps and jump roping. To improve cardiovascular health (important while skiing due to high altitudes and reducing fatigue) cycling, jogging, and circuit training are good options. Whatever the activity is, think about the positions and movements that are used and train the muscles used to perform those movements or positions.
If you are new to an activity, get a lesson! Learning the correct way to perform the activity before participation can go a long way to preventing an injury. Also, be smart. If you are not in good condition to ski, then stick to easier slopes and don't head to that double black diamond just because you did it ten years ago!
If you have questions about what exercises to perform to get ready for that winter get away, call for an appointment today!