How to avoid injuries on the ski slopes
The key to a fun winter is staying in one piece.
State of play: It doesn't matter how much it snows if you're injured and can't enjoy it.
- The most common mishaps are knee and thumb ligament injuries for skiers and wrist fractures and shoulder dislocations for snowboarders, says Chad Vaccarelli, a Kaiser sports medicine physician and snowboarder.
What to know: To prepare for the season, we asked Vaccarelli — who logs at least 40 days on the slopes a year — for tips on staying healthy. The key is exercising before you hit the slopes. "The biggest thing is to avoid deconditioning, I think that's the No. 1 thing that predisposes us to injury," he says.
Do this: For injury prevention, he recommends three to six weeks of conditioning with exercising as much as five to six days a week.
- For skiers, unweighted squats and lunges are a good place to start to strengthen stabilizing muscles in the legs.
- For snowboarders, add heel raises on an elevated surface like a stair and standing on your heels and lifting toes off the ground to work your calf and lower legs.
- For everyone, add core exercises like a plank for 15 seconds to a minute.
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