Is It Time To Put Away Your Snow Skis?

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University estimate that around 600,000 people nationally are injured each year while skiing and snowboarding. However, the majority of these injuries happen to younger, more aggressive participants who often “push the envelope” when it comes to risk-taking. So it is fair to say that there is really no hard and fast expiration date when it comes to enjoying yourself this winter.

Nonetheless, it would be wise to carefully consider your overall state of health before taking to the slopes. If you are not very physically active, why not join a gym and focus on a strengthening regimen that targets the most vulnerable joints? Incorporate flexibility and balance routines (yoga classes are good stretching and social opportunities!) By getting your body more conditioned to the stresses of the sport, you can help to minimize more serious consequences from spills you may have walked away from when you were younger.

Many of us are still using old equipment. It may make sense to upgrade to more modern gear that can provide an added margin of safety. Slow-to-release bindings can make a mild spill much more damaging. The money and time you will save recovering from such an unnecessary injury will almost certainly pay for any new equipment you purchase.

A great way to “tone-down” your game a bit while not feeling deprived is to take the beginners in your family with you on a ski-trip! You can stay with them on the easier slopes and enjoy the slower pace.

Another option to consider is taking up cross-country skiing. This lower impact sport still gets you out in the fresh air with less harsh impact and associated wear and tear to your joints.

As with anything, don’t overdo it. None of us have the stamina we used to. Pushing yourself to get in that last run is just not worth the risk. That’s when accidents happen.

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