Every year thousands of people hit the slopes to enjoy the fresh air, beautiful scenery and an active holiday. Although lots of fun, skiing can be tough on the body. We see quite a few skiing related injuries in our clinic each year. So, to help you stay safe this ski season and get the most amount of time on the slopes, here are some simple hints and tips to follow:
Preparation is key!
Many people will spend the early winter months in hibernation or glued to their desk at work and then head off on a skiing holiday expecting their bodies to cope with the stresses and strains of the activity. Whilst we aren’t suggesting you need to be in the gym, a light training programme before you go will be really helpful.
- Go walking – get your body moving on long walks to improve cardiovascular fitness and reduce stiffness.
- Squats – a few squats every evening will waken up and build strength in the muscles used for skiing.
- Balance – apparently in skiing, balance is quite important(!!) Improve your balance by practicing standing on one leg, aim for a minute on each side. Make it harder by standing on a cushion or closing your eyes.
On the slopes:
- Warm up – start slowly to allow your body to warm up to the activity, even if you are a pro the likelihood is you haven’t skied for a while so build up the intensity gently.
- Stretching – end every session on the slopes with some gentle stretches to ease the tension in the muscles you have been working (target the thighs, hamstrings, buttocks and lower back). This will reduce stiffness in the muscles allowing you to start fresh every day.
- Take a break – overexertion will most likely lead to injury. Listen to your body, if it feels tired or pain, stop!
- Stay hydrated -skiing is a very physical activity, your body will need to be kept well hydrated so drink plenty of water and steer clear of alcoholic drinks.
- Stay warm – make sure you are wearing appropriate clothing; your muscles work better when they are warm.
- Get the right boots – having a correctly fitted ski boots will affect the comfort and performance of your skiing dramatically.
- ICE – for acute injuries use ice rather than heat as soon as possible to reduce the swelling.
You may be surprised to hear that quite a few issues that present to us in the clinic occur off the slopes, here are a few things to look out for….
- Carrying equipment – skis and boots can be heavy and cumbersome, carrying them awkwardly can cause sprains and strains. Ensure that the weight is evenly distributed side to side and get help if it is too much.
- Tread carefully – slips and falls often happen on ice in the resort, wear good lace up shoes with deep tread to give you more grip when out and about.
- Sleep – sleep is essential for good recovery after a long day skiing so if the bed doesn’t suit you it can often aggravate your back or neck. Some simple stretches last thing at night and first thing in the morning can help to reduce the tension that will build in the body from an uncomfortable bed.