Ski & Board SafelyThursday 22 November 2018
Ski and Board Safely
For those venturing to the slopes this season, the British Chiropractic Association (BCA), along with Charles and Cardin have some great tips and advice to help you make the most of your holiday and avoid back pain and injury whilst still enjoying the powder:
Despite common assumptions that a ski or boarding 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, comments: “After three days of skiing using unaccustomed muscles, skiers become confident but are physically tired and their capability isn’t necessarily matched to their confidence”.
If you are enjoying winter sports this season, the BCA has some tips to ensure you can stay safe on the slopes, a few exercises ahead of your holiday is a great idea for preparing the right muscles:
Pre-Ski fitness tips:
Don’t just sit there – Exercising through deep squats, sit ups, box jumps, trampolining and cycling which are all good to tease the right muscles.
It’s a balancing act – Balance is the single most important factor in skiing. Using a wobble board at work or home to improve balance and build up ankle muscles is a good idea. For a thorough ankle work-out, rocking heel to toe is recommended for snowboarders and left to right is best for skiers.
Roll with it – Roller blading is perfect practice and will help you develop a good ski posture, so you look like a pro on the slopes.
Out on the slopes:
Warm up/Cool down – Coaches, pros and therapists don’t go on and on about this for the good of their health, it is for yours! Warming up before strenuous skiing should include raising your heart rate and getting all of the muscles used to working; this could include starting your day on a more gentle run before heading off to the more intense red and black runs. Round off the day with a cool down by stretching each area of the body 2-3 times for 20-30 seconds each; some of these could easily be done in the Jacuzzi!
Take plenty of breaks – Overexertion will ruin your holiday – moderate the length of skiing time and listen to your body. Pain is a warning sign, don’t ignore it.
Liquid lunch – Whilst it is fun to have a drink, or three, on the slopes, alcohol dehydrates the body. We lose essential minerals and electrolytes while we are sweating, which need replacing. Alcohol unfortunately does not do this. The effects of alcohol can also reduce your reaction time making you more prone to injury by accident. Make sure you rehydrate with plenty of water and isotonic drinks to avoid dehydration wait for après ski to have an alcoholic drink.
Dressing the part – Make sure that you are wrapped up warm enough with layers of clothing that can easily be removed and don’t forget a hat and gloves. Besides it being miserable to be cold all day, your body will cool more rapidly when inactive making you more prone to injury when you ski.
Put the boot in – No matter how many lessons, skiers won’t improve without the right boots and this is where most skiers put their first foot wrong. Skiers often choose on comfort alone – don’t make this mistake. Get a moulded footbed from the ski shop first as this improves fit, comfort and ski control. Opt for a shop with a wide range of boots so you are spoilt for choice.
On the right track – If you are prone to going ‘knock-kneed’ when you ski, look out for lateral alignment. Lateral wedges can be placed under the bindings helping to support your alignment when you ski.
Board/Ski Ready – When you stop for lunch, keep your skis or board upright at the stands or in the snow. When you have finished eating and resting and are a little cooler again, you don’t have to risk your back by bending down to retrieve your skis (which you know you shouldn’t be doing anyway!). Also carry them over your shoulder, swapping shoulders regularly.
Ice is nice – With an acute injury, use ice rather than heat.
Tread carefully – A great deal of people are injured by slipping on ice at the ski resort, not just on the slopes. So if you’re heading out for the après then make sure that you again choose the correct footwear by opting for supportive boots with deep treads to give you extra grip on the slippy surfaces.
Prevention is still better than cure and a small misalignment of the joint or muscle can have a catastrophic effect when you are travelling at 40 miles per hour on two skis, so make sure you follow these tips to help you avoid injuries.
If you do find yourself with an injury, try not to move, especially with knee injuries as weight bearing on it can affect the rate and result of recovery, wait for a snowmobile if possible. Ice is better than heat with acute injury, and that will not be in short supply!
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Finally, most skiers find turning one way easier than the other. If you have difficulty turning on the slopes get a chiropractor to take a look at your posture, you may need some help. It might not be your technique but a problem with your structural alignment. If you have any questions about posture or ski fitness, do give us a call at Orchard Chiropractic Centre (T: 876510).
Source: British Chiropractic Association