That glorious time of the year has finally arrived. There’s a distinct chill in the air, the mountain peaks stand in stark white against a backdrop of blue skies, and the hot cocoa is flowing like water. That’s right—it’s skiing season.
For those who enjoy Winter and the sports that accompany it, this is truly the most wonderful season. Whether you are an enthusiast living in a ski-heavy area or a hobbyist with a family tradition of hitting the slopes, the excitement that comes with the snow is palpable.
Unfortunately, so are the injuries. Skiing has a reputation for being a dangerous sport (just look at the multitude of movies that play on this fact), and for good reason. The stress that it puts on the body can lead to a significant risk of injury, especially of your back!
Don’t worry, though. You shouldn’t give up skiing just because there’s risk. Instead, you should familiarize yourself with those risks and take steps to mitigate them. Read on for our quick guide to staying safe on the slopes this ski season!
Know the Risks
Skiing is an intense physical exercise and is very demanding on the body, especially if you participate in the sport infrequently or are not in the best shape. You don’t have to be a professional athlete to ski, of course, but your level of experience and physical fitness do factor into your risk of injury.
If you are unfamiliar with the movements your body must make while skiing, you open yourself up to injury (and will definitely be sore). This includes both the movements made while skiing and when falling. The unnatural movements that can occur at both times can put stress on the muscles and soft tissues around the spine, leading to strains. The jarring impacts of going over bumps, falling, and otherwise can also lead to injury.
While it is impossible to entirely eliminate the risk of injury, there are certain things you can do to help prevent getting hurt while skiing. Read on to discover some of the key prevention tactics!
Prepare Your Body
If you aren’t in great shape, you should seriously consider conditioning before hitting the slopes. Find a suitable exercise program for your skill level and health (you can even consult your physician), and really focus on your core muscles, hips, and legs. Strengthening these muscle groups will help reduce stress on your back.
Even if you are in good shape, you should consider a ski-centric routine if you don’t ski regularly!
As with any physical activity, starting slow and warming up are two of the best ways to reduce injury risk. Make sure you take your time to warm up slowly by stretching and doing a few easy runs first. Cold muscles are more prone to injury, so don’t jump straight onto the intense slops!
Consult the Experts
If you have a preexisting back injury, you should consult with your doctor before taking off on a ski trip. You should also consider finding an instructor who specializes in skiing with back injuries. They will be able to coach you in specific skiing techniques that accommodate your back injury and help prevent further damage.
Be Ski Savvy
There is a lot of nuance to skiing, so make sure you familiarize yourself with some of the necessary techniques. Learning how to fall correctly, for example, can go a long way toward protecting your back. The same goes for knowing and acknowledging your skill level. Don’t try to jump directly on a double black diamond slope if you’re not ready. Doing so will only increase your risk of injury.
Skiing is a fantastic winter pastime, but it is demanding of your body. If you want more information on keeping your back injury-free or want a professional to examine an existing back injury, reach out to us via our contact page. We’d love to hear from you and get you back on the slopes as soon as possible!