Skiing is a beloved activity for many Canadians. It’s a chance for us to enjoy the outdoors and have a little fun. Families often go for a variety of hills and terrains that cater to different skill levels and age.

If you are skier or have gone skiing before, you know the sport can take a toll on your body, leaving you sore after a day on the slopes. Unfortunately for some, skiing may lead to injury. This is why it is imperative to prepare your body before gearing up. Here are some tips to help ensure your safety when skiing.

Get the Proper Equipment

Do you have all the equipment needed to safely ski? If not, make the time to assess what you need, and take measures to buy or borrow the proper equipment for your next trip down the slopes. If you are a beginner, find a professional to help you determine exactly what you need and ensure that your equipment fits your needs and your body type.

Skiing does involve some serious risks of injury including falls, collisions or simply poor form; therefore, it is critical for your equipment to be in good condition to prevent avoidable injuries. For example, broken skis can put your safety and the safety of others at risk. Be extra cautious and inspect your equipment thoroughly and have it repaired by a professional as soon as you notice any problems.

Protective devices can help prevent the risk of serious injury. Notably, helmets help prevent the risk of a skull fracture from a fall or collision. Other protective measures such as braces can help those with existing issues or injuries. For example, knee braces can reduce the risk of knee injury by up to 90%1. Other protective gear to consider includes wrist guards and spine protectors2. When your equipment fits properly, it allows you to perform at your best.

Take a Lesson

Even the most avid skiers will sometimes take lessons to perfect their technique, form and acquire new skills. As with any activity, we can become accustomed to skiing the same slopes and forget to pay attention to our technique or form. Receiving expert advice from an observer can help tweak or correct bad habits acquired over time. Moreover, lessons can also cover other elements of skiing beyond physical form such as hill rules and regulations, conduct, identifying dangerous slopes, and how to avoid collisions to keep you and others safe.

Do Some Extra Training

Skiing requires agility, endurance, mobility and balance. Overall, skiing can put extra stress on your joints and spine, which is why it is important to ensure that you prepare your body in advance. You may want to consider building cardiovascular and muscular endurance, as well as strength, balance and mobility.  If you’re unsure of how to train for a ski trip, talk to a personal trainer who can prepare a workout for you. Don’t forget to warm-up and stretch too!

Ski trips are fun and exciting, but it’s important to take the time to prepare for them. All those hours of skiing and rigorous activity can put a lot of stress on your body, so make sure you feel prepared and properly conditioned. To learn more on how to prepare for skiing or any sport, read our Fit Tips and consider visiting a local chiropractor.

The CCA wishes you a safe and happy new year! We hope that 2016 brings you happiness, prosperity and good health. Keep an eye out for our January blog series on New Year’s Resolutions and tips for committing to your goals throughout the coming year!

1. Hébert-Losier K, Holmberg HC. What are the exercise-based injury prevention recommendations for recreational alpine skiing and snowboarding? A systematic review. Sports Med. 2013 May;43(5):355-66
2. Russell, K et al. The effect of wrist guards on wrist and arm injuries amongst snowboarders: A systematic review. Clin J Sports Med. 2007; 17:145-150

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