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Calling all skiers and snowboarders

For many ski resorts, the UK February half term week is widely viewed as their busiest week of the season. Each year an estimated 1.5 million UK residents go on at least one ski (or snowboard) holiday. If you have recently returned from a ski holiday and feeling a bit sore, or are soon going to be heading to the slopes and want to be as physically prepared as possible, then this post is for you!

For those of you preparing for a ski holiday, these next 4 tips are for you.

1. Get “ski fit”- you don’t need to be able to run a marathon but doing a few simple exercises in the weeks leading up to your trip can work wonders for your skiing fitness. Poor fitness is one of the most common reasons leading to a ski injury, with majority of fitness related injuries occurring towards the end of the ski day. Endurance, strength, balance and co-ordination are the 4 key areas of fitness which are worked when skiing. By just adding squats, lunges, side planks, and mountain climbers to your day will help to develop these components of fitness.

2. Wear a helmet! As is the case in many sports, head injuries and concussion are becoming more of an area of emphasis to healthcare professionals. Wearing a helmet may not necessarily prevent a head injury all together, but it goes a long way to reducing the severity of the injuries. Not only are helmets the first line of defence to head injuries, if you still need convincing that you should wear one they also help to keep your head warm, keep your goggles in place, and give you more confidence when you’re out on the slopes- especially if you’re relatively new to snow sports. All in all , the benefits of wearing a helmet far outweigh the negatives!

3. Have regular breaks and don’t overdo it- Start your day on easier slopes, and give yourself time to get used to the conditions of the mountain. Take breaks if you’re feeling tired or hungry, and make sure you keep hydrated- your can make much better decisions if your body is being fuelled right. And don’t under-estimate the need for a good nights sleep every day, you may not feel like you need it for the first few days but all the skiing that you’re doing will soon catch up with you!

4. Keep warm- As with any sport it is important to make sure that your muscles are warm to prevents strains and tears. Make sure you’re wearing suitably warm clothing for the conditions, and layer up- its better to start off with more layers than you need than to be cold!

If you’ve just got back from a snow sports holiday and are feeling a bit sore or achey, there are several things which you can do to help yourself recover. Skiing and snow boarding work muscles that you don’t use day-to-day and if you aren’t “ski fit” ready you will ache after a day or two on the slopes.

1. As simple as it is, stretching is one of the most effective ways of helping your body to recover from skiing or snowboarding. It helps to remove areas of tension, as well as increasing blood flow to the area, allowing them to recover.

2. Sports massages can also be highly beneficial when recovering from a ski holiday. Focus should be placed around the soft tissues which have been most used- commonly the lower back and knees.

3. Whilst you’re away an ice ice bath each night is likely to be the best at ensuring your muscles recover for the following day. Having a bath at normal tap temperature (8-10 degrees) helps to slow any inflammation and speed up the recovery process. To be effective, two sessions of 5 minutes, with a period to warm-up in between is recommended.

4. Stay hydrated- nothing will help you recover if you’re not effectively hydrating your body through-out the day. When you’re at altitude (As many ski resorts are) water will leave your body quicker than at sea level, and if you’re taking part in sport at altitude, you will dehydrate even quicker.

If you think you could benefit from a personalised programme to prepare you for your trip, or just need some TLC after you’ve returned, contact the Horsham Sports Injury Clinic on 01403 598017 or 07795 983870

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