How to avoid injuries in winter sports? Doctor’s advice
Skiing, snowboarding, sledding or even snowshoeing… Winter sports are not safe and certain precautions should be taken before setting out in powder snow. Advice from Savoy General Practitioner Dr Julien Mirabel to avoid an accident.
About 140,000 people are injured on the ski slopes every year. Skiing 6-8 hours a day is harder on your body than you think, and it’s even harder when you get very little exercise the rest of the year.
“We often forget that skiing or snowboarding is fun, but above all, it is a sport!“, insists Dr. Julien Mirabel, a general practitioner at Lanslevillard in Savoie. The minimum preparation is necessary to avoid ending up in the hospital. This is his advice.
Work the thigh muscles
“The ideal, of course, is to exercise all year round“, recommends Dr. Mirabel. For those who don’t have the time and/or desire to “you need to train for at least a month before leaving for the mountain“In the program?”Cycling, jogging…work on endurance and muscle strengthening exercises if possible.”
The quadriceps (muscles located at the front of the thigh) are the most strained to go downhill. There’s nothing like chair practice to get them working. Thought? Leaning against the back wall, you pretend to be sitting in an invisible chair with your legs bent. Then you should hold the position for 30-60 seconds and repeat 3-4 times.
Other interesting exercises: squats and lunges. Finally, strengthening the abdominal belt, covering, planking: leaning on the forearms and toes, you form a straight plank, contracted abs, flat back.
Eequip yourself properly
“Children wear helmets 96%, adults only 70%, Dr. Mirabel grumbles. Big mistake! This does not prevent head injuries, but it does limit their severity.”
A helmet saves lives on the slopes, just like wearing a seat belt in a car. As for the rest of the equipment — skis, boots… —“should be adapted to practice (groomed slopes, dust, etc.), weight, level.“For example, beginners will choose shoes that are fairly flexible, while experts will allow themselves stiffer shoes that perform better but require more control.
“Beginners will also have to choose smaller skis, so they are easier to handle.” Wrist guards are an essential accessory for snowboarders.”because they reduce the risk of breakage.”
To prevent knee sprains, adjustment of parcels is also important. Even if you own the equipment, don’t forget to have it checked by a professional at least once a year.
Respect the piste code
Good equipment should not feel invulnerable. Because a helmet does not always save at high speed… It remains important to control your speed to avoid falls and collisions. In 2019, more than a quarter of head injuries occurred in collisions.
- In order not to become a victim, you should prioritize the skiers who are downstream (below you). Go wide enough to anticipate the possible “gap” of the double skier.
- Brake in areas with lots of beginners, on green and blue runs, near lift turns or at the bottom of slopes.
- Do not park behind the floor. Do not go off-piste without the accompaniment of a mountain guide.
- Respect the traffic signs – “crossing”, “attention of pedestrians”, “danger” – which are not in vain!
You couldn’t imagine riding a bike for 5 hours without taking your water bottle, so why do it any differently when you’re skiing? In addition to staying well hydrated, you need to eat well to avoid feeling sick.
“We must not miss breakfast, our specialist hammers. We also put cereal bars or a handful of almonds or dried fruit in the backpack. to restore power when necessary. Another condition that needs to be renewed every 2 hours, 50 index sunscreen. Because the altitude cocktail + the reflection of the rays on the snow can really damage the skin, even in cloudy weather. Don’t forget to protect your lips. As for the eyes, you need glasses of category 3 or 4. With this, you will avoid photokeratitis, which is a very painful inflammation of the cornea…
Take a break
Last tip, but not least: know how to listen to yourself. “This means, for example, taking tracks adapted to your level and, above all, not following your friends in the black if you don’t feel like it.“Knowing how to say no can avoid a trip to the mountain doctor’s office, or even the emergency room in some cases.
This is not to do”final landing” When you are tired and your legs start to tremble. Most falls happen right before lunch or in the afternoon. Skiers are less often at the end of their ropes. By avoiding these traps, you are sure to have a pleasant and peaceful snowy vacation.
Our specialist : Dr Julien Mirabel, general practitioner in Lanslevillard (Savoie).