Whether you’re winning championships or just getting a great workout, winter is one of the most exciting times of the year for sports. Unfortunately, many folks venture out without an injury-proof plan. Preparing a winter sport safety checklist reduces the odds that you’ll experience a cold weather injury caused by a fall or exposure to the elements. Follow these nine tips to enjoy a safe winter sports season.
1. Dress in layers
Dressing in layers is important for both safety and comfort, as drastic weather changes can cause unstable body temperatures. When you can remove or add layers of clothing, you reduce the risk of developing hyper or hypothermia.
2. Don’t depend on wrist guards
Guards can help reduce injury to the wrists, but you can’t depend on a wrist guard for complete protection. If you fall, tuck your arms and land on one side of the upper body to reduce the chance of wrist injuries.
3. Practice proper form to prevent ankle sprains
Most skiing and skating injuries occur from incorrect form. To prevent ankle injuries, flex the knees when you’re in motion and practice weight distribution techniques.
4. Warm muscles prior to activity
Short warm-up exercises and stretches can help prevent cold muscle injuries. Cold joint muscles are like ice sticks and easy to snap.
5. Wear knee supports
Snowboarders, ice skaters and skiers are more susceptible to knee injuries than other athletes because high speed activities increase the risk of injury. A knee brace provides extra stability when you participate in extreme sports and can help prevent a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
6. Use leg muscles when lifting
Bend at the hips and use your leg muscles, not your back, to bear the brunt of the weight when you lift moderate or heavy objects or equipment.
7. Use bracing techniques to prepare for a fall
Ignore the common myth that advises athletes to act like a rag doll while tumbling down the slopes. Prevent serious injuries with a chin-tuck, body-hugging position. Flex legs slightly to absorb the shock of impact.
8. Take water breaks
Dehydration is common in the winter months because the chilly weather often masks the thirst trigger. Drink plenty of water during activities, as dehydration can interfere with performance and increase the risk for injuries.
9. Apply sunscreen
Even on cloudy days, the sun’s UVB and UVA rays still penetrate the atmosphere. Block rays with continuous applications of sunscreen everywhere, not just on exposed skin.