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HOW TO PREVENT INJURIES IN SKIING AND SNOWBOARDING



In a previous article I talked about the injuries that most frequently occur in those who practice skiing and snowboarding. If you missed it you can find it here.


In reading it you might probably think that "maybe it would be better to stay at home rather than go for skiing", but I would like to remind you that domestic accidents happen every day, so let's stop talking and let's see how we can protect ourselves from injuries and enjoy our holiday on the snow.



Pre-season

Prevention starts well before the beginning of the ski season, with a healthy lifestyle that includes a total body training plan, proper nutrition and restful sleep.


A sport-specific training will not only improve the athletic performance, it will make you stronger and improve your reaction time and your joints stability. To learn more about this topic, read this other article I wrote about how to train for the ski season.


To train at your best, you will need all the nutritional elements your body requires to face both training and the commitments of everyday life. A balanced diet, with the right caloric intake, and an adequate division of macronutrients, will give you the energy you need.


Rest is a very important element, but unfortunately it is overlooked too often. How do you give your best if you're tired? Sleeping at least 7 hours per night (8 would be better) will help you recover the energy spent and make your muscles stronger, because it is during the night that the muscle reconstruction process takes place.


On the slopes

Beginners are most at risk of injury, not only to themselves, but to others as well. A ski or snowboard course is essential for beginners to learn maneuvering and falling techniques, how to use ski lifts and chairlifts, and the general mountain rules, as well as risk awareness.


While beginners start with the basics, and taking a course seems like the most logical thing to do, even the most experienced should consider brushing up on their skills and knowledge by taking a course suited to their level. Indeed, scientific research evolves, knowledge increases and techniques improve. A lot has changed since the 90s!


Equipment is the simplest prevention method to put into practice. Everyone has their own preferences regarding what they find most comfortable to wear (wrist guards, padded shorts, etc.), but a component that should never be missing is the helmet. In this other article of mine you will find advice on equipment and apparel for an unforgettable day on the snow.


Pay attention to the environment

The environment is a factor that sometimes we don't think about, but that hides considerable risks. When you go to the mountains you cannot ignore the altitude, the sunlight, the temperatures and the risk of avalanches.


Altitude

Altitude could lead to "altitude sickness", a condition that can affect anyone who travels to high altitudes. It typically occurs when you exceed 2500m without giving your body the time to acclimatise. Symptoms are non-specific and include headache, gastrointestinal symptoms (poor appetite, nausea, vomiting), fatigue and dizziness. To avoid this problem, climb the mountain gradually, taking time to adapt to the change in pressure and the new levels of oxygen saturation in your blood.


Ultraviolet (UV) radiations

The levels of UV radiation are higher at high altitudes, because you are closer to the sun and also because the rays are reflected on the snow. To protect yourself from sunburn, I recommend using a sunscreen on the areas of the body that remain uncovered, especially nose and mouth (there are different types of lip balm that can be purchased in pharmacies to protect your lips). Also, don't forget to protect your eyes: choose snow glasses with polarized lenses and a light absorption filter.


Temperature

The greatest dangers caused by low temperatures are hypothermia, that is a drop in body temperature below 35°C, and frostbite. Hypothermia is a condition that rarely occurs in skiers, while frostbite can affect anyone. Luckily, preventing this unpleasant consequence is not difficult: it is enough to equip yourself with warm, waterproof clothing (thermal shirt and tights, gloves, Gore-Tex jackets and trousers, etc.) and appropriate boots.


Avalanche risk

You rarely run the risk of being caught in an avalanche on the slopes, however, those who practice off-piste should always consult the weather forecast and the avalanche bulletin released daily. If you are thinking of spending your snow holidays in Italy, my country, you can check the avalanche bulletin on the website of the Interregional Association for Coordination and Documentation of Snow and Avalanches Problems (AINEVA).



Follow these tips to start the next ski season at the top of your shape and have fun safely.

If after reading this article and the others about how to get ready for the next ski season, you still have doubts or questions, contact me and I will help you better face your next outing on the snow.



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