How to Stay Safe While Enjoying Your Winter Sports

For those of you who are excited at the prospects of the many winter sports, here are some great tips to help you stay safe and enjoy yourself.

There are so many great winter sports including skiing, ice skating, and snowboarding that offer adrenaline rushes and hours of fun. Although these sports allow people to live on the edge, you should understand the physical risks that can accompany these activities.  Winter sports can be great fun if carried out with safety in mind.  Here are some great suggestions to make sure your winter fun stays fun…

Just like high-velocity summer sports, during your winter activities you should always wear a helmet.  Snowboarding and skiing are 2 of the 4 highest ranking extreme sports that lead to the most head and neck injuries. Both skiing and snowboarding lead to 55% of all concussions, which is higher than a lot of other summer and winter sports. Concussions can lead to a neurological deficit and therefore it’s extremely important that you protect your head with a helmet. Along with the potential for a head injury, high-velocity sports will greatly increase mechanical stress on your muscles and joints.

You should prepare your body for physical activities in the following ways:

  • Adequate nutrition; a well-balanced diet, and staying hydrated.
  • Proper stretching; warm-up your muscles before starting a sport.
  • Always wear appropriate protective equipment and padding.
  • Know your limits and understand when your body is close to exhaustion.

Some winter sports are more intense compared to other fast-paced winter activities such as ice hockey. It can be an uncontrollable environment that the participant is placed in. Although you might take all steps including being in great physical condition and wearing the proper equipment, Mother Nature is a powerful force that should be reckoned with and respected.

Dealing with sub-zero conditions, wind, altitude and conditions such as frostbite and hypothermia can be serious if not addressed properly.  Even the most experienced skier can end up in trouble if unexpected situations arise and they are not prepared.  When temperatures hit 32°F, hypothermia or frostbite can happen within a half hour to an hour or even in a matter of a few minutes.  The time frame will depend on the wind chill and changes in temperature.  You must be prepared for the unexpected:

  • Always be aware of your surroundings such as the weather and environment and be prepared for it.
  • Ensure your skin is covered properly with gloves, jackets, facemasks, and outerwear. Prevent all unnecessary exposure.
  • If predictions are that conditions will be bad, plan accordingly and protect yourself from exposure.
  • Never take part in winter sports alone!

Winter activities can be exhilarating and hours worth of fun but can be very dangerous if safety measures are not being adhered to. Understand the environment and your limitations!  By taking safety seriously, you will have a wonderful thrilling time in your local winter wonderland!

 

Posted in Seasonal.

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