Winter is here and MFA LAW has prepared some tips on how to be safe while enjoying winter sports. It basically comes down to your experience and level of skill on the slopes. Weather conditions also play a big role in whether or not you sustain an injury.
- Keep fit. Be sure you are in good physical condition before you start skiing or snowboarding. The heavier you are the more strain you are putting on your knees. If you have been lax with your workout regimen, start one today. Choose ski slopes carefully and begin with a gentle one and gradually build your way up to more challenging trails.
- Warm up. Cold muscles are more prone to injury. Warm up by walking for 5-10 minutes, or do gentle stretches. Take a couple of bunny hills or beginner’s ski runs to complete your warm up.
- Drink water. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after skiing. Skiing and snowboarding works the body hard, so even mild levels of dehydration can affect your physical ability and endurance.
- Read safety rules. Familiarize yourself with general safety rules of skiing, such as how to safely stop, merge, and yield to other skiers to avoid any unnecessary accidents and injuries.
- Take lessons. Improve your technique. This will greatly reduce the undue strain on your joints and will reduce your chances of unnecessary accidents.
- Adjust bindings. Improperly set skis and bindings can be an increased risk for suffering an injury. The settings should be appropriate to your weight, height and ability.
- Ski to your ability. Ski at your experience level. If you start showing off too early, you may be adding additional stress and damage to your knees.
- Do not drink alcohol. On the slopes you need to be keen, perceptive and alert. Alcohol slows your reactions and makes you more reckless.
- Take a rest. Muscle fatigue will eventually set. The highest risk of accidents occur after 3pm (after an all day ski outing). Take frequent brakes, even if it is for 15-30 minutes.
- Feeling lethargic. We all experience this. Take a nutritional supplement and avoid eating carbohydrates and starches (this includes sweets). Pack your own healthy lunch with delicious sandwiches, fresh veggies, hot soup, eggs, oatmeal, nuts; and healthful snacks such as dried fruit and rice cakes.
- Recovering from a past injury. Do not ski if you are still recovering from a recent injury. You must allow your body to heal properly, if not, you are placing yourself in more danger, unnecessary stress and additional strain to your injury.
- Suffering a ski injury. Whether it is a minimal injury such as strained muscles, headache, lightheadedness, dizziness, or twisting injury, stop skiing. If you have a swollen knee, put ice on it to subdue swelling and take an ibuprofen (anti-inflammatory). If you experience lightheadedness take a break and eat a few squares of milk chocolate. If these options do not help, clinics in ski resorts are well-equipped and versed in treating injuries and pain. Do not continue to ski if you are not well.
For additional reading, check out our other article on skiing, sleding and snowboarding.
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