How to Prepare for Ski Season

This is a guest blogger post by Erin Kimball, PA-C from South Jordan Family Medicine

Having worked as a Ski Patroller and Outdoor Emergency Care Technician for many years prior to becoming a Physician Assistant, I have seen more than my fair share of injuries on the slopes. Our best intentions for an enjoyable day in the sun and snow can quickly turn into a trip to the clinic. And although not all injuries are preventable, the good news is that many are. Below are some helpful tips to keep you safe and healthy this ski season.

1. Use Your Head

‘Know the Code’ is the mantra at many ski resorts for a reason. By reviewing the rules of safe skiing you have done a great deal to keep yourself and your loved ones safe and healthy this ski season. Visit  http://www.nsaa.org/safety-programs/responsibility-code/ for details. Another simple way to prepare prior to ski season is to make sure all members of the family have properly fitting helmets – and remember to wear them!

2. Hit the Gym

What better time of year to go to a spinning or yoga class, or just jump on the treadmill after work than the shoulder season? When the weather outside is frightful, it’s time to hit the gym. If it has been a while since you’ve used that membership, motivate yourself to go at least once or twice a week before or after work – you will reap the benefits all day, all season and may even enjoy sounder sleep. After a taxing workout, go to the sauna or steam room where you will get a reprieve from the cold and a deeper stretch in your muscles.

3. Core and Leg Strength

We’ve all heard about the importance of core strengthening for back health, and nowhere is this more important than during ski season. For a healthy back that springs painlessly from turn to turn, strong abdominal muscles are the key. A simple way to start is by doing crunches daily on a yoga ball or mat. It goes without saying that leg strength is also critical to ski conditioning – you can achieve this with squats or weight machines. A fun alternative would be to break out the jump rope, or play a game of tennis or basketball at an indoor gym which also integrates side to side movement.

4. Shoulder Strength

Whatever your winter sport of choice, shoulders are an often neglected area that are susceptible to injury. Especially for cross country or downhill skiers, strengthening the shoulder girdle is important for a healthy season. Some good exercises to start with are simple pushups or ‘flys’ where you lift free weights to shoulder height and back down again (like a half snow angel while standing). Start with 3 sets of 10 repetitions and see if you can increase this each week.

5. Balance

A great and simple recipe for ski conditioning (or any sport conditioning for that matter) is yoga. This ancient exercise is more than stretching – the benefits of core strengthening, improved balance, flexibility not to mention a calmer mind are all great preparation for hitting the slopes. If the only thing you do this year is carve out 1 hour per week to go to a yoga class you will have done a great deal to protect your yourself from ski season injury. If you are already an avid yogi, you might try heated yoga such as Bikram for a deeper stretch and added challenge

– Erin Kimball, PA-C

If you would like to make an appointment with Erin, call South Jordan Family Medicine at 801-302-0899.

 

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