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Reduce Skiing Injuries

Get prepared for your ski trip with these simple preconditioning exercises to perform to help reduce skiing injuries while hitting the slopes.

Before heading to the slopes to partake in winter sports such as skiing you need to prepare your body! The ski season brings fun in the snow, but with that comes common injuries.  Some injuries are unavoidable; however, many injuries are preventable with proper body conditioning. Back in Action Physical Therapist David Mills, an avid skier, wants to help you get ready and prepare your body for a fun and safe ski season.

Falling can cause injuries to the wrists and shoulders, but we are going to focus on the lower body, and specifically the knees and how to avoid injury. The knee is more susceptible to injury while skiing due to the fixed ankle and foot while in the rigid ski boot. The fixed ankle combined with a twisting motion at the knee is a common cause for knee injuries.  Not all injuries can be avoided, but proper preparation will help to reduce your risk of injury so you can continue to stay on the slopes.

Follow these guidelines to improve your muscular strength, endurance, and mobility which are key for staying healthy when shredding the slopes!

Work on your cardiovascular endurance

Skiing gets your heart rate up, and you need to prepare for the cardiovascular exercise by engaging in some cardiovascular training before you hit the slopes. Pick your favorite exercise that increases your heart rate and begin working on your endurance a few times per week before your trip.  This can be spin class, running, or elliptical training as a few examples. Better endurance will allow you to be on the slopes longer!

Strengthen, strengthen, strengthen!

You use your quads, hamstrings and glutes a lot while skiing. If you have been neglecting doing squats, lunges, and deadlift movements then you need to get at it.

Try some wall sits for 1 minute, do some walking lunges, start performing step downs with control, or even some single leg sit to stands from a chair.

  • As with any exercise, make sure you perform using proper technique. If you need more guidance, call a physical therapist who can tailor an exercise program to fit your needs and give you appropriate cueing.

Work on your mobility

Better flexibility in the ankles, knees, and hips will serve you well if you take a fall heading down the mountain. Increased mobility will certainly reduce the risk of injury.  Try incorporating static stretches into your post workout routine.

Perform dynamic warmups before you get on the slopes. That would include quick movements of the hips and knees to loosen up soft tissue.

Improve your agility and balance

If you have been skiing before, you know there are many obstacles in your way. That may be trees, moguls, or even other people.  Work on simple balance and agility exercises such as

  • Jumping rope or performing plyometrics will help you achieve better body control which will help with agility
  • Balancing on one foot, progressing to on uneven surfaces such as a pillow

Take breaks when you get fatigued and be smart when you start your day

Give your body time to acclimate to higher altitudes. Start with some easier green and blue runs before getting onto the black diamonds.  This will allow you to get comfortable in your equipment as well as warm up your muscles. Listen to your body, when you get fatigued on the slope you are more likely to lose form and control.

Make sure to hydrate as well. It may be cold out there, but your body still needs fluids!

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Keep in mind that all these areas should be considered when preparing for your trip, but you may have some areas that are more concerning than others.  Get help identifying your areas of weakness by contacting our team at Back in Action Physical Therapy to get evaluated before your trip!

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