Ski season is here, and you’re ready to hit the slopes for some fun in the sun and snow! Whether you’re a first-time skier or a pro, skiing is an exhilarating, highly active sport that engages your whole body. With this thrilling experience also come some risks considering the high level of demand on your muscles and bone systems.
Our doctors at AICA Orthopedics are highly trained in both prevention and treatment of skiing injuries. Here are four ski safety tips our Atlanta orthopedic specialists recommend to avoid injuries:
#1: Schedule a Preventative Care Appointment
You can schedule an appointment with a variety of doctors before your trip if you suspect any injuries that could prevent you from skiing your best.
An orthopedic doctor can assess your current level of health and also review any previous neck, back, or other ailments that have caused you pain in the past. They’ll work to understand your history, current status, and future goals to help you determine your level of fitness and strength for such strenuous activity as skiing.
You can also visit a chiropractor, who may assess any spinal misalignments to ensure your spine properly aligned and ready for the rigors of hitting the slopes. Finally, physical therapists can also work with you to develop a conditioning plan to prepare your muscles for the experience.
#2: Exercise Prior to Your Trip
You might think a few days on the ski slopes won’t make that big of an impact on your body, but skiing is a very active and engaging sport for all parts of the body! If you have a ski trip planned, it can be extremely beneficial to begin a conditioning and exercise regimen to help prepare your body for the increased level of activity.
When skiing, we often utilize our muscles in different ways than during other activities. Working out two or three times a week before a ski trip can really help prepare your body for the endurance test ahead.
Stretching and strengthening your calves, quads, hamstrings, and shoulders can keep your body in good shape, while balance exercises can help prepare your core, hips, and knees. Paying attention to exercises that focus on stretching, strength, and balance can help you prevent muscle tears and injuries.
#3: Learn Your Limitations
Regardless of your skiing ability, the activity makes a lot of demands on your body. However, the key to finding a healthy balance of risk and reward is to determine what level of skiing is best for you.
On the slopes, you will see all kinds of skiers and snowboarders at various levels, and you may be tempted to test your limits to keep up with your friends. We strongly recommend taking advantage of safety introductory ski lessons where offered. Even if you have been skiing for years, it certainly can’t hurt to check back in with a ski instructor and familiarize yourself with the various trails and their expertise levels before attempting them.
#4: Remember to Rest
While warming up and preparing your muscles for strenuous activity is vitally important, what you do with your body after you hit the slopes is just as important. Intentionally relaxing your muscles through rest, a hot tub session or even a massage can help your body recover quickly.
As the soreness sets in after a long day of skiing, listen to your body and give it the rest it deserves. You may also want to treat any areas with pain symptoms with appropriate anti-inflammatory medications and elevation. While resting your body, remember to rehydrate to promote healing and prevent dehydration, which could exasperate sore symptoms.
Once you return from your ski trip, remember to check in with our Atlanta orthopedic specialists to treat your body to the care it deserves. Our physical therapists and chiropractors offer massage and spinal manipulation to help realign your spine and treat any muscle pain or other injuries incurred. We will develop a healing plan that suits your needs and helps you recover efficiently and effectively. Our team of Atlanta orthopedic specialists is here to help you before and after your ski trip to help promote a safe and healthy experience and encourage recovery and healing. Whether you are experiencing sore muscles or incurred an injury, AICA Orthopedics is here to help. Reach out to any of our clinics located near you!