Before you hit the slopes or step onto the rink this winter, keep in mind these eight tips to help keep you safe and ready to take on the elements.\nEssential Tips for Winter Sport Safety\nStay hydrated\nDrink plenty of water especially if you are in cold temperatures and at elevation. Avoid heavily caffeinated drinks and alcohol. Remember, if you feel thirsty, you may already be getting dehydrated.\nRELATED:\u00a0Sports Drink vs Water: Which Is Better?\nWhether you\u2019re preparing for a winter sport or planning a ski vacation, UPMC Sports Medicine experts recommend proper training to avoid common injuries and illnesses.\nPractice yoga\nTo prevent injury and increase flexibility, yoga is recommended for skiers and snowboarders as part of a conditioning program.\nAdd cardio to your workouts\nCardio training such as swimming, running, cycling or rowing are ideal for skiers and snowboarders to implement in their preseason conditioning.\nCheck your equipment\nBe sure to check all of your equipment prior to hitting the slopes. That means bindings are properly adjusted, and boots are fitted and attached to your skis\/snowboard.\nImprove strength\nCore exercises, as well as squats and lunges, are beneficial in increasing strength and preventing injury for skiers and snowboarders.\nWear layers when exercising outdoors\nEach cold-weather outfit should have three parts to it: a base layer, a mid layer, and a shell. Proper layering is the key to your success in the brisk, wintery months. Wear fabrics that provide the best insulation to keep you warm, and more importantly, are moisture-wicking to keep you dry.\nProtect your skin\nWhen it\u2019s cold and breezy, the wind can dry out your skin, reddening the surface and causing it to\u00a0feel a lot like sunburn. If you are heading out to run, ski, or snowshoe, try to cover exposed areas of skin. Moisturizing can also prevent the effects of this wind burn.\nRELATED:\u00a04 W\u2019s of Winter Skin Care\nAcclimate to your environment\nKnow as much as possible about the environment where you will be competing or vacationing. Adjusting to colder temperature or higher altitudes can take a few days and people often respond differently.\nFor more information from sports medicine experts, visit the UPMC Sports Medicine website.