by Nicole Demetrescu
1) Hydrate – If you’re low on fluids, hitting the hill will drain you fast. Drink often when taking runs, and at least the two days beforehand.
2) Help your heart – Do you exercise? If not, do some walking in the days before you visit the slope. (A week or two ahead would be even better!) Your heart and lungs work harder at high altitudes.
3) Do some squats – Skiing requires strength in your thighs and hips. Forward-stepping squats target these areas nicely. To be most effective, keep your body upright when you do them and don’t let your knee go past your toes.
4) Warm-up – Cold muscles are more likely to get hurt. Before you put on your skis at the hill, walk around the parking lot for a few minutes, do some light in-place jogging or practice those squats! Let your first two runs be gentle to ease your body into the day.
5) Rest! – Most skiing injuries occur at the end of the day when people are tired. Pay attention to your body and rest if you’re tired!
6) Check your equipment – Helmets, skis, bindings, etc. will only protect you if they fit properly and are in good working condition. This is especially important for growing children who shift sizes quickly and without warning!
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS), head injuries, shoulder injuries and knee injuries are all common in skiing and can be avoided with proper preparation, equipment and adherence to safety guidelines. Make sure you ski in safe areas and take a lesson if you’ve never skied before… knowing >how< to fall can keep you from hurting yourself!
Nicole Demetrescu, DPT, is a physical therapist at Encompass.