While winter spells hibernation for many, skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts take quite a different view. If you’re among the millions who can’t wait for the first flakes to fly, we want to ensure that you get the most out of the season by avoiding a sidelining sports injury.

Here at Genesis Regenerative Sports and Medicine Aesthetics, our team applauds your active lifestyle, especially during those months when so many take to their couches. In fact, Dr. Vinay Chopra and Dr. Matthew Griffin are team physicians for the US Ski and Snowboard team. As healthcare providers and athletes, Dr. Chopra and Dr. Griffin can help you safely enjoy your winter sports.

As you wax your boards and tune your skis, we urge you to keep in mind the following injury-prevention techniques.

1. Ease on in

We know you’ve been waiting for months to take your first turns, but you’ll likely be waking up some relatively dormant muscle groups (think quads). Sure, the die-hard enthusiasts may have been doing squats for months now, but the rest of us mere mortals should take it easy for our first few days on the slopes.

Before you get started, spend some time warming up your muscles with some stretching and a few easy runs on some greens or blues. Slowly, as muscle memory kicks in and your body warms up, you can get back to your previous levels.

2. Go with a pro

Whether you’re new to skiing or snowboarding or you’re bringing a newbie with you, lessons are the best way to get started. All too often, people head out without any instruction, figuring they’ll work it out on their own or with a friend.

Unfortunately, this lack of proper instruction of the basics can lead to injury very quickly — or at the very least, a very dissatisfied customer.

By enrolling in a beginner lesson, you’re introduced to the sport in a way that helps prevent injury and allows you to get more out of your first experiences on the slopes.

3. Equipment matters

Skiing and snowboarding are equipment intensive, and it’s crucial that your equipment functions well. For example, improper binding settings (set too high or too low), can lead to serious injuries, especially in your knees.

We also recommend that you head out with a helmet and any other appropriate safety devices, such as wrist guards for snowboarders.

Another area to pay close attention to are your boots. Please be sure that they’re fastened or buckled properly to provide support.

4. The hydration question

When you run around a track on a hot summer day, it’s easy to remember to hydrate. In the cold temperatures, however, your thirst may not be as apparent, but this doesn’t mean your body doesn’t need water. We urge you to hydrate throughout the day, whether you feel thirsty or not.

This tip is especially important if you’re taking a ski trip to higher altitudes.

5. Mind your surroundings

When you head out, be sure that you have a good pair of goggles so that you can pay attention to your surroundings. Many injuries occur because of collisions, either with other skiers and snowboarders or with hazards on the trails, such as trees and snowmaking equipment.

Pay close attention to your surroundings and mind the rules of the road, such as stopping off to the side of the trail and not in the middle.

If you head out this winter with injury prevention top of mind, you’ll be rewarded with days of fun in the snow.

If you’d like to learn more about preventing skiing and snowboarding injuries, feel free to contact our office in Westfield, New Jersey.

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