Safety tips for winter sports

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We love hitting the slopes, but definitely do not appreciate ending the day early with a bruised tailbone. We enlisted the help of Dr. Justin Classie, Medical Director of the Sports Medicine Division at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, for some tips on how to enjoy all that skiing, snowboarding and skating safely.

Conditioning

  • Even if you have an active workout regime and go the gym on a regular basis, it is important to keep in mind that winter sports often involve using different muscle groups than the ones you use on the treadmill or elliptical. Doing some proper stretching before you partake in winter activities, such as ice skating or skiing, can help lessen sore muscles or even prevent injury.
  • When skiing, make sure you go on a couple of practice runs before hitting the more challenging slopes in order to warm yourself up.

Overuse &  Exertion

  • If you are going to be skiing for five days to a week, be sure to take it easy the first couple of days of the trip to make sure you can withstand activities throughout the entire excursion.
  • When skiing, also plan on cutting the first or second day short to rest up. Many injuries occur later in the day when people are more tired, so consider skipping that final run.

Fluids & Dehydration

  • Even though we stress staying hydrated in the warmer months, it is important to remember to drink enough water when engaging in physical activities during the winter as well.
  • You should also be sure to increase your fluid intake at higher altitudes. If skiing out at high elevation, pace yourself until you become accustomed to the altitude and watch out for signs of altitude sickness. If you or someone you are with seems to be suffering from altitude sickness, the best treatment is to descend the mountain and get as close to sea level as possible.

Sunscreen & Protective Gear

  • People often forget that even though it’s cold out, it is still possible to suffer from sunburn and even sun poisoning. Make sure you wear sunscreen, especially if you are outside for long periods of time as sun rays reflect back at you when they bounce off snow.
  • Windburn is another common issue when outside in cold weather, so be sure to cover up your exposed skin. Wearing a hat and scarf will protect your head, neck and face. A scarf should be tucked inside clothing so that it does not get entangled in a ski lift. Wearing a ski mask will also help keep the wind off your face.

Equipment

  • Preparation is key–be sure to check that all of your winter sports equipment and gear are working correctly and fit properly before use.

 

 


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