We are in the midst of ski season, and skiers and snowboarders are flocking to the mountains. Although they can be safe sports, unexpected injuries can occur with improper preparation. If you’re heading to the mountains, here are some practical steps you can take to decrease your risk of getting hurt.
Hit the gym before you hit the mountain. Even with the progression of technology and grooming improvements, overall injury rates have decreased but knee injuries have remained consistent. In fact, 42% of ski injuries occur on the lower half of people’s bodies, with a majority being to the knee. Injury prevention for skiing begins long before you load the skis and head to the mountain. Strength is the key factor in the prevention of lower extremity and knee injuries. It’s important to have strong quads, glutes, and hamstrings. Here are exercises to build them up:
Double leg squat
Rear foot split squat
Single leg deadlift
Perform these exercises 3-4 times with 10-12 reps each time. If you are adding weight to these exercises, use enough weight to begin approaching fatigue on your last 2-3 reps. Warm up before your first run. Studies have shown cold-muscles are more prone to injury, so it's important to warm up before you ski - especially if you’re skiing early in the morning. Before you ski, try a couple of these exercises:
10 minutes of quick walking
Paced squats - slow and steady
Begin on a smooth, gentle run
While you’re skiing… You can also take steps to protect your body while you’re skiing. It’s important to ski to your ability level. Don’t push yourself to ski a double black diamond if you’re comfortable on the green slopes. It’s also important to listen to your body. Recognize when you are fatigued and don’t push through it for that “last run”.
Stay hydrated, too. When your body is dehydrated, it has to work harder because it can’t regulate your temperature as efficiently. As you ski and burn calories, you also lose fluids so make sure you drink water before, during, and after skiing to keep yourself hydrated. Apres ski
Did you follow this guide? Congrats! You aren't injured. Go enjoy an ice cold beer (and don’t forget the water!)