If you’re looking to hit the ski slopes yet this winter, Dr. G. Peter Maiers II — an orthopedic surgeon and avid skier — has some tips for you.
Skiing strengthens your muscles, works out your heart and elevates your mood. It’s also a fun sport…but definitely not one to take lightly. Here are some important things to remember before you hike up that snowy hill, while you’re skiing and when you come down after a long day of the winter sport.
Before You Hit the Slopes
Warm up — Be sure to stretch, especially your thigh and leg muscles. Squatting exercises will help prepare you as well.
Fuel up — Skiing burns a considerable amount of calories (500 or more per hour.) That’s why it’s important to load up on protein and complex carbs before you hit the slopes.
Avoid drinking alcohol before you ski. While a drink will certainly make you feel warmer, alcohol narrows your blood vessels, increasing the risk of hypothermia and frostbite.
Wear sunscreen — The higher the altitude, the higher the risk of UV damage. Plus, snow reflects sun rays back at your face.
Hurting yourself — especially your knees — is all too easy on the slopes. Here are some tips to avoid injury.
- Keep your hips above your knees.
- Keep your knees flexed. (Don’t straighten your legs when you fall.)
- Keep your arms forward. (If you fall, don’t land on your hand!)
- Maintain balance and control.
- Don’t jump unless you know how to land — on both skis with your knees flexed.
At the End of the Day
Don’t push yourself: When you’re tired, take a break. Trying to fight fatigue increases the chance of injury.
Stretch: Be sure to stretch out your quads, hips and hamstrings.
Have a healthy meal: As much as you’ll probably want to wolf down a meatloaf after a long day on the slopes, stick to food that won’t make you sluggish—something like black bean soup, a turkey burger or a baked potato.