Skiing – Tips on How to Avoid Injury on the Slopes
December 1, 2016
And so it begins!! Skiing season that is and right on cue we are beginning to see a steady stream of skiing related injuries coming before us. People invest so much time in finding great accommodation and funky clothes but never take the time to properly prepare their body for the rigours of skiing.
Injuries are common when you ski, mainly because you will be using muscles that are rarely used in other sports or exercise. Many of us will only ski once/maybe twice a year and, as a result, we don’t build enough consistency to keep our bodies conditioned for it.
Most injuries from skiing and snowboarding are in the knee or in the upper body, but the increased stress on the lower back from twisting and changing direction can also result in, or worsen, lower back problems.
Furthermore, weak hip muscles or muscular imbalances around your hips can lead to increased stress on your lower back. The same is true if you have a weak core or haven’t trained this area for some time. The result is that you are less likely to have stability in your spine as you ski and your back will be at greater risk of injury.
So what can you do?
Whether you are a beginner or an expert, here are a few things you can do in advance to ensure your skiing holiday is a more enjoyable and safer experience.
- Improve your flexibility
Make sure to warm up and stretch properly each morning and maintain this routine while you are on holidays. Some good stretches to start with include;
Quad Stretch, Lying Knee Rollover, Glute Stretch and Lower Back Stretch
You’ll find lots of examples on how to do these stretches online.
- Improve your fitness
You don’t need to dive straight into hard core training. Start by doing some simple cardio work and build it up slowly in the weeks leading up to your holiday. Some of the best cardio exercises for skiing are;
Running, Step Aerobics, Cycling and the Step Master machine in the gym.
Another simple way to start building your cardio is to take the stairs, instead of the lift, in work. The benefits of this can be remarkable. Just read this
- Strengthen your core and leg muscles
You need to incorporate strengthening exercises into your routine. Your balance will be greatly enhanced by strengthening the hip and core muscles. You will also need to strengthen your bottom and thigh muscles, as this will help reduce the risk of certain knee injuries.
Lunges, Squats and Step Ups are all easy exercises to increase your leg strength.
Balancing exercises, such as standing on one leg, will help increase stability in your knees and ankles. Once you have improved your balance and can do this exercise easily, you can make this exercise more difficult by closing your eyes, while balancing on one leg.
Planks are another great exercise for boosting your core strength and stability.
- Hire a ski instructor or speak with an experienced skier
This is especially true if you are a beginner. It is much safer to get your posture and technique right from day one, rather than trying to correct it further down the line when you’ve developed bad habits and quite possibly hurt yourself.
All these tips are a good starting point before you head off for that amazing holiday. Start as soon as possible as building strength, flexibility and endurance will keep your body strong and help you avoid injuries, while making your skiing much more fun and enjoyable.
Thanks for reading and happy skiing.