Samantha Hvasta, DPT
Injury prevention when it comes to winter sports
Whether you downhill ski, cross-country ski, snowboard or simply enjoy sledding, it’s important to get your body ready for the physical demands snow sports put upon the body. Here are some tips to reduce your risk of a season ending injury:
Keeping your body fit is crucial for getting the most enjoyment and least amount of injuries out of your favorite snow sports. Our bodies are the most important piece of equipment we have.
Skiers and snowboarders of any level should have specific conditioning and workout routines to not only improve your performance on the slopes, but to also reduce your risk of injury.
A pre-season workout routine for skiers and snowboarders should include a combination of flexibility, strength, endurance and agility activities to help prepare the body for the physical demands of the sport.
Some examples of a ski/snowboard specific workout would include forward and side lunges, weighted step-ups, deadlifts, planks/side planks, squat variations, agility drills and plyometrics.
Before starting a program, make sure to consult with your therapist or physician.
Give yourself six to eight weeks to train and prepare your body. If you aren’t already physically active, start slow and progressively build upon your exercise program to build strength and endurance. If you already are fit, it doesn’t hurt to progress your program as well to ensure you are in top shape before hitting the slopes.
Now is the time to see a health care professional and take care of any back or leg injuries. Participating in snow sports when you already have an injury could aggravate the injury, or worse…cause a season ending injury.
Keeping your snow sports equipment fine-tuned is important. Inspect and prep your gear, outerwear and accessories for the upcoming season.
Before the first snowflakes start to fly, take the time to go through your stored equipment to ensure your first day is stress-free. When is the last time you had your skis/snowboard tuned? A general rule of thumb: if you’ve ridden five times on your boards, it’s time for a tune-up.
Helmet, goggles… Do you have them? Make sure your helmet and goggles fit properly. For all ages of skiers or snowboarder, helmets are becoming the norm on the slopes. Not only do they protect against head injuries, but also provide warmth since up to 60 percent of your body’s heat can escape from an uncovered head.
Jackets, pants and gloves… It’s worth the time and money to invest in well-made, quality outerwear.
Call your local NovaCare Rehabilitation center today or visit novacare.com to learn more. You can contact NovaCare Rehabilitation located at the Blueberry Crossing Plaza at (609) 561-5308 or visit novacare.com.