Your guide to preventing skiing injuries this winter!

Person skiing

Skiing is a fun, fast yet strenuous sport, which can put a lot of stress on your body. Two of the most common skiing complaint is pain or stiffness around the knees, otherwise known as ‘anterior knee pain’ and calf muscles.

Luckily there are plenty of exercises you can do to minimise discomfort in this region, and prepare your body pre-slopes.

Did you know that the low temperatures on the slopes means that muscles are prone to be more stiff, which can result in your muscles being slower to react. As a result, you will have a more limited range of movement! Yes, not ideal for skiing, so be careful, as even a small fall could result in an injury!

Although people don’t tend to think about pre-skiing ‘training’, it’s important to develop your flexibility in the weeks leading up to your skiing trip through regular stretching and doing activities that involve quick movement:

Both cycling and swimming will build up your baseline fitness, as well as increasing your cardiovascular strength! The British Chiropractic Association also recommended trampolining (despite it’s reputation, it’s really fun!), as this tends to work all of the ‘skiing’ muscles that you will use during your time on the slopes.

The positions we go into whilst we ski can put a lot of strain on the knee (patella-femoral) joints and tendons. Training your glutes (bum) beforehand, can help shift the workload onto neighbouring muscles. Deep squats are an excellent way to do this. Do at least 30 knee bends three or four times a day before you go skiing. Ask your Chiro to show you the best way to do this if you’re not sure.

Many people also make the mistake of pushing themselves to the limit as soon as they get on the slope. However, as tempting as this is, try to give your body a bit of time to warm up and adapt to the colder conditions! It’s vital that you always stretch fully before you go on the slopes. Also, start off gently, rather than heading straight for the black runs! Once you’ve finished your day of skiing, remember to stretch your body.

Calf pain is another common skiing complaint, which is often caused by overuse and delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS). The calf complex is made out of two muscles: the gastrocnemius and soleus. Both are important; however the soleus is crucial for keeping our feet against the ground when we bend our knees! As a result the calf complex is repeatedly stretched and contracted as we use our forefeet to control our speed and direction. Simple pre-slope exercises such as cycling, spinning or lunges can help strengthen your quads, which in turn helps increase your calf muscle endurance.

Whatever you do, have fun on the slopes this winter! However, remember that preparing your body for skiing – and making sure you stretch post-skiing – will help to prevent these injuries from occurring. The last thing you want is to be chalet-bound, consuming all the cheese and wine…right?

For further information, contact Max at the London Wellness Centre by phoning 020 7531 4444, emailing info@thisislondonwellness.com or visit www.thisislondonwellness.com

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