winter sports safety

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.

Whether you’re preparing for a winter sport or planning a ski vacation, UPMC Sports Medicine experts recommend proper training to avoid common injuries and illnesses.

Essential Tips for Winter Sport Safety

Stay hydrated

Drink 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.

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Practice yoga

To prevent injury and increase flexibility, yoga is recommended for skiers and snowboarders as part of a conditioning program.

Add cardio to your workouts

Cardio training such as swimming, running, cycling or rowing are ideal for skiers and snowboarders to implement in their preseason conditioning.

Check your equipment

Be 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.

Improve strength

Core exercises, as well as squats and lunges, are beneficial in increasing strength and preventing injury for skiers and snowboarders.

Wear layers when exercising outdoors

Each 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.

Protect your skin

When it’s cold and breezy, the wind can dry out your skin, reddening the surface and causing it to feel 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.

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Acclimate to your environment

Know 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.

For more information from sports medicine experts, visit the UPMC Sports Medicine website.