Take on winter fun, NOT injuries, this season

Take on winter fun, NOT injuries, this season
Take on winter fun, NOT injuries, this season

When the cold and snow arrive, the only thing that should be top of mind is fun–not injury.

If you want to avoid winter pain, we have six easy tips.

First off, wear a helmet. It’s the easiest thing you can do to avoid serious damage.

Sports medicine doctor to the pros, Dr. Ashwin Babu, is on the sidelines of Boston Bruins games to help NHL players if they take a hit on the ice.

“The thing we worry about every single year is concussions,” he said.

In fact, head injuries make up 20 per cent of the roughly 600,000 ski and snowboarding-related injuries reported across Canada annually.

“In the winter we’re doing a lot of stuff on ice and snow, these are just inherently slipperier surfaces, and there's a lot more unexpected head injuries,” Dr. Babu added.

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Secondly, know what your skill level and limits really are–pro or not, rest up if you’re tired and recognize your abilities.

“Fatigue is a big factor in putting you at risk for injuries,” cautioned Dr. Babu.

Another tip is not to underestimate the power of a warm up. Doing some dynamic stretching before taking on any activity can improve your performance, while also decreasing your risk of injuries.

“Our bodies are not meant to go from zero to 100 right away… our elite-level athletes spend an enormous amount of time with a very particular kind of warm up and pre-game routine, and we should all be doing something similar,” Dr. Babu explained.

The next tip is to stay hydrated. Water is usually on hand in the hot summer months, but dehydration can still happen with winter sports.

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Tip five: Bring a buddy.

“When things can go wrong, particularly in more remote areas [like] up in the mountains, for instance, they can go very wrong, very quickly. It’s very important to have somebody with you...if nothing else, you have a call for help when you need it,” he added.

Lastly, learn how to fall. Don’t put your hands out–instead, tuck and roll, so your upper body takes the brunt of the impact.

With all that said, Dr. Babu says injuries should not completely deter you from getting outside and enjoying all the fun activities winter has to offer.

“All injuries happen, but the benefits of being outside and exercising and being out in the fresh air cannot be overestimated, so I’d say it’s still important for us to get out there despite some of the injury risk.”

(Thumbnail credit: Pexels/PhotoMIX Company)