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Preventing Winter Sports Injuries

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Winter sports are a nice way to get outdoors and enjoy the season. They also provide a number of health benefits, offering a great cardio workout while improving balance and building various muscle groups. At the same time, injuries from winter sports such as sprains, strains, dislocations and fractures are very common. Dr. Jeffrey Zilberfarb, an avid skier and sports medicine specialist at New England Baptist Hospital, has the following tips to prevent injuries and help to make sure you get the most out of your winter experience.

Preparing for your Sport
One of the best ways you can avoid injuries is to get in shape before the season begins.

  • Getting your heart rate up with aerobic activity is important. Biking, swimming, walking or jogging are all great ways to get your heart rate pumping. When beginning, don’t try to do too much at once-start slowly and increase your activity over 6 weeks.
  • Strengthening and agility exercises are important to complete as you prepare for your season. This can be done using weights, squats and lunges. For core exercises, consider pilates, yoga and planks.

Proper Preparation
Preparation is the key to preventing injuries.

  • Take ski or snowboard lessons-especially if you are a beginner. Along with basic skills, lessons will also teach you how to fall correctly and help to reduce the risk for injury. Even experienced skiers and snowboarders can improve by taking a lesson.
  • Most injuries occur at the end of the day, so make sure to stop when you become tired or are in pain.
  • Make sure your equipment is functioning properly. Have a professional take a look at your gear, bindings, etc.
  • Make sure to dress appropriately. Layers of light, loose, and water/wind resistant clothing are ideal. Don’t forget your protective gear, including goggles, helmets, gloves, padding and sunscreen.
  • Wear sunglasses to prevent snow blindness, which typically occurs at high altitudes on highly reflective snow.
  • Check the weather for snow and ice conditions before hitting the slopes. If it’s going to be icy, make sure to take it slow. Avoid going outside under extreme condition.
  • Pack food and water for long trips. This will help you replace all the calories you are burning and stay hydrated.

If you have any type of persistent pain, make sure to consult an orthopedic expert.

Looking for more information? In this informative webinar, Dr. Jeffrey Zilberfarb discusses ways you can stay active, prevent injuries, and get the most out of your winter sport.

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