If you are planning on enjoying some winter sports this season, the British Chiropractic Association has some great tips to help you and all your party stay safe and happy on the slopes.
Beware of Day Three!
Despite common assumptions that a ski injury is most likely to occur on the first day Matthew Bennett, BCA Chiropractor and the first to work with the British Alpine Ski team, tells us: “After three days of skiing or snowboarding using unaccustomed muscles, we become confident but are physically tired and our capability isn’t necessarily matched to that confidence”.
Before you hit the slopes
• Don’t just sit there – Exercising through squats, sit ups and cycling is also good to tease the right muscles.
• It’s a balancing act – Balance is the single most important factor. A wobble board can be used to improve balance and build up ankle muscles. For a thorough ankle work-out, rocking heel to toe is good for snowboarders and left to right is best for skiers.
• Jump around – Use a mini trampoline to work all those ‘skiing’ muscles.
• Roll with it – Roller blading is perfect practice and will help you develop a good posture so you look like a pro on the slopes.
• Check it out – Most skiers or snowboarders find turning one way easier than the other. Poor technique might not be the problem, so talk to a chiropractor for advice.
Out on the slopes
• Hot and Cold – Warm up first. Start off gently rather than heading first for the black runs and round the day off with a stretch.
• Take plenty of breaks – Overexertion will ruin your holiday. Moderate the length of ski or board time and listen to your body. Pain is a warning sign, don’t ignore it.
• Liquid lunch – Drink plenty of water and isotonic drinks to avoid dehydration and stay clear of alcohol, tea and coffee.
• Wrap up – Make sure clothing is warm and adequate for the cold weather and don’t forget hat and gloves.
• Put the boot in – No matter how many lessons, skiers or boarders won’t improve without the right boots and this is where most put their first foot wrong. Don’t make this mistake of choosing on comfort alone. Get a moulded footbed from the ski shop first, as this improves fit, comfort and control. Opt for a shop with a wide range of boots so you are spoilt for choice.
• What a bind – If you are prone to going ‘knock-kneed’ when you ski, look out for lateral alignment. Wedges expertly placed under the binding can make a huge difference.
• Carry on – Always be careful when carrying skis or boards. Leave them standing upright so you don’t have to bend to pick them up. Carry them over your shoulder, swapping shoulders regularly.
• Ice is nice – With an acute injury, use ice rather than heat.
It still holds true that it is always better to take preventive measures in order to reduce the risks of injuries. Take note of these guidelines to ensure you keep on the safe side this season. Matthew adds: “Prevention is still better than cure and these tips can help you avoid injuries because just one joint or muscle out of line can be a disaster when you are travelling at 40 miles per hour”.