We’re entering the winter season and you know what that means…break out the snowmobiles, snowshoes, ice skates, and yes, the skis. But, your winter wonderland fun can come quickly to an end if you get injured. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, over 246,000 people were treated for injuries caused by winter activities.
Don’t be sidelined by a muscle strain, a sprained ankle, or a strained knee. Here are 5 tips to preparing for ski season so that it doesn’t end early in injury.
1. Keep in shape and maintain routines.
When partaking in any sport it’s important to maintain fitness and stick to a routine for warming up and cooling down. For winter sports, this is particularly important as the cold and damp weather can lead to more injuries. If you’re not in good physical condition when you hit the ski slopes or trails, it’s best to stick to easier runs and build your way up in difficulty. This also applies to other winter sports – starting out easy and gradually working your way up to more challenging activities.
2. Condition your muscles and cross-train.
Just as you should maintain your fitness throughout the year, you should also have a conditioning routine along with cross-training. Working your muscles through various activities lowers your risk for injury as you build a strong fitness base and strengthen different muscle groups that support the main muscles used in your sport. Athletic trainers and physical therapists are trained to make sure you condition correctly to prevent injuries.
3. Ensure that your gear is working properly.
Using bad equipment and gear in sports is one of the major causes of injury, along with improper use or improperly fitted gear. Before heading out, always check to make sure your equipment is properly working order and that it fits correctly. Also, having a trained eye look at your gear could be the difference between hitting the slopes again or hitting the couch due to an injury.
4. Get weather updates.
Getting weather alerts is always a good thing during the winter no matter what you’re doing. However, if you’re planning on hitting the slopes or the ski trails, it’s a good idea to check the weather before you leave and get updates as you go along to avoid hazardous situations, possible injuries, and even life-threatening circumstances.
5. Know your limits.
Most importantly in avoiding any injury in any activity is to know your physical limits. Trudging on when you’re tired or in pain increases your risk of injury. If you’re tired, make sure you get an adequate break, along with drinking plenty of water. And, if you’re in pain, it’s best to just stop for the day and even get help so that you don’t injure yourself further.
OSR Physical Therapy can help you prepare for winter.
Whether an avid skier, or just out for fun, the physical therapists at OSR can help you prepare for the upcoming season. We’ll help you prevent injuries, stay safe, and help you recover from any injuries you do sustain. Give us a call today to set up a free consultation with one of our physical therapists or athletic trainers.