No one ever wants an injury, but there are times when it’s particularly prudent to take extra precautions. As a pandemic rages into its second year, the last place you want to land with an injury is an understaffed and over-capacity emergency room.
Still, this is the season for all things snow sports and outdoor fun is a lower-risk activity. Avoiding the urgent care for new injuries or the aggravation of old ones doesn’t have to mean avoiding all the fun. With a few tips, you can enjoy relatively safe and exhilarating winter sports fun.
- Maintain Hydration – While it may seem obvious, staying hydrated can be a challenge when it comes to winter sports. In fact, winter is a very common time to experience dehydration simply because our bodies don’t feel as thirsty when they’re cold. At the same time, they’re working harder to stay warm and sweat evaporates more quickly, creating a proverbial perfect storm for winter sports dehydration.
- Don’t Skip the Warmup – Warming up your muscles before strenuous exercise is always a good idea, but it’s especially vital if you’re exercising in low temperatures. Cold air means tighter muscles, less circulation and the ideal circumstances for cramps or injuries. It’s especially wise to focus on the back and lower extremities before and after winter workouts.
- Keep Your Activity Level Consistent – Though it’s true that no time is better than the present when it comes to setting and reaching new fitness goals, demanding winter sports may not be the ideal fit for someone who spends the rest of the year at a slower pace. A long vacation in a wintry climate isn’t the best time to let an active routine grind to a halt, either.
- Focus on Your Core – Most sports and physical activities require a fair measure of core strength, but this is particularly true for things like skiing, snowboarding, hockey and ice skating. The stronger your core, the lower your chances of a back injury. This goes hand in hand with keeping your activity level consistent; make sure you’re not slacking on the core workouts when beach season ends, and you’re in a better position to enjoy winter sports safely.
- Dress for Success – You wouldn’t go fishing with a butterfly net and a single canoe oar; why turn up for winter activities with makeshift supplies and clothing? Make sure you’re using equipment for the task it’s designed to aid in, that you’re wearing suitable clothing for both your activity and the elements and you have all necessary safety gear. Far too many winter injuries occur simply because people aren’t prepared or properly outfitted for their cold-weather activities.
- Stay Alert and Aware – Winter athletics can be extra demanding, leaving you more fatigued and worn down than exercise in more hospitable weather. When you’re tired and in less-than-ideal physical condition, it’s easy to become distracted. Unfortunately, distraction and carelessness borne of exhaustion can be a perfect recipe for serious injury. When you find you’re no longer at the top of your game, it’s wise to rest up and be extra cautious.
You’ve only got one body, and acute sports injuries can quickly evolve into chronic pain. Whether you’re dealing with the nagging after-effects of a stubborn old injury or hoping to address a new one right the first time, treatment is important.
DOCS Health for Better Health & Injury Prevention
Your quality of life matters. Preventing new injuries from devolving into ongoing pain complaints matters, and so does addressing chronic pain. The DOCS Health team of experts includes surgeons specializing in orthopedic, neuro-spine and sports injury surgery, along with rehabilitation and physical medicine specialists. Together, we can help you find better outcomes and a better quality of life through targeted treatment. Contact us today to learn more.