For some of us, the first drop of snow means one thing – fun! With the snow-covered grounds and ponds freezing up, many sports enthusiasts are heading to ski slopes, skating rinks, and frozen waters to have hours of fun.
Skiing, ice skating, sledding, or any other winter sports can make this cold season more enjoyable. However, just like any other sports, you can end up with a trip to the emergency room if safety precautions are not followed.
Enjoy more hours in the snow with your favorite winter sport with these injury prevention guidelines:
Keep track of the weather.
Weather during winter can be unpredictable. You may start your day with a beautiful sunny day but end up with more wind and clouds in the next hour or so.
If you’re planning to have hours of fun in the outdoors, make sure to check and keep track of the weather. Changes in weather conditions can increase your risk of winter sports injuries.
Have a buddy.
One of the most dangerous things to do during winter is playing a sport alone. You may have been skiing or skating for years but having a buddy can add an extra layer of safety. You can also be this person’s buddy who can help him/her in case of injuries or accidents.
Stay close to each other and make sure you bring a first aid kit with you.
Don’t forget to warm up!
Your body reacts differently to a drop in temperature. Your muscles get tighter and your blood vessels contract. These increase your chance of developing a muscle cramp or getting exhausted. You can minimize these by preparing yourself before doing any sports.
When doing your warm-up, make sure you include:
- Arms, legs, and back stretching
- Arm circles
- Upper body twisting
- Jumping rope or jogging in place
Use proper protective equipment
Many winter sports-related injuries can be prevented if the right protective equipment is used properly. The most important one is the helmet for preventing head injuries. Other protective equipment to consider include padding for arms and legs and goggles.
Don’t push beyond your experience level
In doing any physical activity, it’s important to recognize your own limitations. Stick to routines that are appropriate for your level.
If you want to challenge yourself and try a level above where you’re currently at, make sure you’re doing it with a well-trained professional. Having someone to guide you can minimize your risk of injuries.
Even with our best efforts to prevent injuries, accidents can still happen. When that happens, the first thing to do is to seek help immediately. The second is to make sure you get the best care from doctors who specialize in treating sports-related injuries.
Ozark Orthopaedics has specialists who can help. To request an appointment, you may call us at (479) 521-2752.