Prepare for Winter Sports Now To Stay Injury-Free
thoughts of snow often bring visions of skating, skiing, snowboarding
and other winter sports activities, leading many people to rush out to
embrace these sports before they're physically ready. This enthusiasm
can lead to injuries if you aren't mentally and physically prepared for
California Podiatric Medical Association (CPMA) suggests the following
tips to help you prepare for and remain injury-free this winter:
This strategy helps adjust your body to the strenuous movements that
winter sports require. If your body is not in good shape, start with a
conditioning routine. Jogging, walking, weight-lifting, blading, biking
and aerobics are good preparations.
On the day you're heading for the great outdoors, stretching exercises
should be done before each activity. Hold each stretch for at least 10
seconds and do not bounce while stretching.
Get equipment that fits.
If you're a skier, pay careful attention to how your ski boots fit.
This piece of equipment is one of the most important in helping you
stay injury-free, CPMA noted.
Use the proper equipment for your size and skill level.
For skiers, buy the best bindings you can afford. Ski bindings that do
not properly release during falls are the leading cause of severe lower
extremity skiing injuries.
Learn before you leap.
Snowboarding, which is becoming the fastest-growing winter sport in the
United States, entails a high risk of injury, especially for people who
do not learn about proper techniques and equipment. If you're a
beginner, take a few lessons to help minimize injury.
In extremely cold weather, the feet, which are the furthest from the
heart, often lack sufficient blood flow to stay warm. Over-exposure to
the cold causes the blood vessels in the feet to constrict, which can
lead to frostbite. (Symptoms include the skin changing color to blue,
then whitish, and the feet feeling like they are burning or numb.) To
avoid blood vessel constriction, podiatric physicians recommend
avoiding caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, prolonged exposure to wetness and
extreme cold, and tight-fitting footgear.
Even skiers and snowboarders who consider themselves experienced should
start with a warm-up on a lower-level slope before hitting the steep
Also, be sure not to overdo it.
line is to prepare, pay attention to conditions and listen to what your
body is telling you, and you'll be on your way to a safer, healthier
winter season," said Dr. Franklin Kase, vice president of CPMA.
Copyright 1999 Health Resources Publishing