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5 Exercises & Stretches to Prevent Skiing Injuries – Part 1

by Jason Ulisse January 03, 2014

Now that Christmas Day has come and gone, and lots of snow outside our windows, it is time to start looking ahead to the cold winter months of January, February, and March.  For some of us that means sitting by the warm fire sipping on hot cocoa, but for others it is the beginning of ski season!  Before you hit the slopes be sure to stretch to help prevent injuries.

Like any sport or activity, it is important to warm up your body before stressing it with physical activity.  Before venturing out on the slopes, I recommend you:

  1. Body Weight Squats – Make sure you do these with your boots on and buckled.  This will give your hips, thighs, and knees a chance to warm up in a way that is identical to the environment they will be in all day with your skis on.  Two sets of 12 reps of squats.
  2. Body Weight Lunges – 1 set of 10 lunges should do the trick and help warm up your thighs and knees. Perform with your equipment on similar to the squats.
  3. Leg swings – This should loosen your hamstrings & hip flexors.  It is recommended that you perform 1 set of leg swings for 30 seconds.
  4. Arm Circles – This will help loosen your shoulders. Perform 2 sets of arm circles for 30 seconds. While this sounds like a lot of work, it should only take you 6-8 minutes to perform.  In my opinion that is a fair price to pay to decrease the chances of you getting hurt while on the slopes.  Your muscles should be warm and charged up leaving you with one last thing to do:
  5. Bend Over….To Check Your Equipment! I know this really isn’t an exercise, but make sure your skis, bindings, and boots are tuned up and adjusted for your individual level of skiing.  You want your equipment to be functioning optimally for your level of expertise on the slopes.  If your bindings are too loose, you will lose your skis too often and could lose control while making an edge or turn.  If they are too tight and don’t let go, the biomechanical stress will be translated to your knees resulting in overload and potential injury.  So before you hit the slopes, go to your local ski shop and have them tune your skis and adjust your bindings properly.

Unfortunately, no matter how well we prepare, accidents (and injuries) will occur.  When these unfortunate events do occur, you can count on the intricate knowledge and skill of our staff at Specialized Orthopedic Physical Therapy to get you back on the slopes quickly and safely!  Give us a call and you will be back skiing in no-time!

Be on the lookout in the next few days for Part II of the series on Skiing Injury Prevention when we discuss specific exercise programs to prepare for the rigors of skiing!

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