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Preparing for Winter Sports: Winter Sport Safety

Posted by Mountainstate Orthopedic Associates

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Dec 19, 2018 12:11:30 PM

As the days get shorter and the temperature starts to drop, you have two options to prepare for winter. You can stay warm in your living room, or you can continue to train and attack winter sports.

Read on to learn how to prepare and condition for winter sports.


It does not matter if you are skiing, snowboarding or playing basketball indoors, all kinds of winter sports offer a lot of fun. These sports can have a lot of impact on your body over time. Here are some beneficial tips to get ready to take on winter sports:

  • Start working out now: Do not wait until the season has already started.our body will be trying to catch up as you are working extra hard during the season.
  • Combine your training: Combine training with exercises for multiple body parts, static and dynamic exercises and high repetitions.
  • Stability training: Stability training on unstable ground can improve balance and strengthen your deep muscles. Examples of stability exercises include:
    • Squat curl with alternating knee lift: Start in squat position, put weight back on your heels and your arms to the side of your body holding dumbbells. Squeeze your glutes to press up and lift up the right knee as you curl the weights to your shoulders. Lower your weight back down into the squat position and repeat with the left knee.
    • Balancing single arm row: Bring your weight to the right foot, extend the left leg long behind you and hold the dumbbells in your left hand. Bring your left elbow straight back pulling dumbbells to hipbone. Slowly lower arm to long position. Continue for desired 15 reps on each side.
    • Plank to single arm reach: Begin in a plank position with your shoulders over your wrists and your body in a straight line. Raise your right arm and hold keeping abs tight. Hold for desired time and repeat on the other side.
  • Coordination training: This can improve your reaction skills and also improve endurance. You can combine your running with coordination exercises that include:
    • Speed ladder agility drills: The forward-running, high knees drill is great for improving coordination and speed.
    • Lateral Plyometric jumps: This exercise helps build power, balance and coordination. This exercise is for athletes who need coordination and lateral power.
    • Plyometric Agility Hurdles: Athletes use plyometric jumping exercises to build coordination and power. They can improve strength for basketball players, skiers, figure skaters and divers.
  • Improve your stamina: Stamina is the strength and energy that allows you to sustain physical or mental effort for long periods of time. Increasing your stamina helps you endure discomfort when you are doing an activity. It will also reduce fatigue and exhaustion. Exercise may be the last thing on your mind when you are feeling low on energy, but consistent exercise will help build your stamina.
  • Be consistent and accurate: Be consistent and accurate while training. A consistent routine will take some time to develop. Once you get used to it, you will not even think about it because it will be a consistent part of your daily routine. It is just a matter of convincing yourself that you can do it and giving yourself time to get there.
  • Consult a physical trainer and/or your physician if you have any questions or concerns regarding your exercise routine.


It is important to understand winter sport safety and to take the proper precautions to avoid injuries, as well being able to stay warm. No matter your age, exposure to cold temperatures and participating in winter sports can be dangerous if you are not prepared. Each year, many people seek medical care for injuries resulting from winter sports.


Most winter sport injuries result from falls. Other causes can include collisions with others while on the mountain or the tendency to overexert yourself. The most common types of injuries involve the musculoskeletal system, which includes bones, muscles, joints, tendons, ligaments and cartilage. Injuries may include:

  • Sprains and strains: A sprain is a stretch and/or tear of a ligament, and a strain is an injury to either a muscle or a tendon. Ice, rest, compression and elevation can help minimize the damage.
  • Dislocations: These are joint injuries that force the ends of two connected bones to separate so that one or both are out of position.
  • Fractures: A fracture is a complete or partial break in a bone. Broken bones in the wrist, arm, ankle and leg are common.
  • Head injuries: Head injuries can also be common. Many medical organizations recommend wearing protective helmets when you are on the slopes or in the ice rink.

If you or someone you know gets injured, seek medical attention to determine if treatment is needed.


Snow on the mountains means the return of skiing and snowboarding. The most common injuries for skiers and snowboarders affect the knees, neck, back, wrists and tailbone. Having the correct equipment for your size and skill level and preparing your body can reduce these injuries.

Preparing for Winter Sports: Winter Sports Safety



To reduce your risk of injury, remember to participate in sports within your abilities and do not overexert yourself. Here are tips to prevent winter sport injuries:

  • Exercise in the months leading up to winter activities to stay in shape and condition muscles.
  • Do not go skiing, ice skating, snowboarding or sledding alone, especially if a beginner
  • Take time to stretch and warm up your muscles before heading out; cold muscles, ligaments and tendons are more prone to injury.
  • Know and abide by the rules of the sport.
  • Wear the appropriate protective gear, including goggles, helmets, padding and gloves. Use equipment that fits properly and adjusts well.
  • Take a lesson from a qualified instructor, especially in sports like snowboarding and skiing.
  • When falling, try to fall on your side or buttocks. Roll over naturally, turning your head in the direction of the roll.
  • Do not take part in sports if you are in pain or are fatigued.



Beware of frostbite and hypothermia, which can result from prolonged exposure to the cold or if you wear cold or wet clothing. Hypothermia occurs gradually when your body’s internal heat production can not keep up with heat loss.

Symptoms of hypothermia can include:

  • Cold hands, face and feet
  • Shivering
  • Drowsiness
  • Shallow breathing
  • Stiff muscles

Frostbite occurs when the skin or tissue just below the skin freezes. The skin can appear white, blue or pale and may tingle or feel numb. Make sure to dress in several layers of light, loose and water resistant clothing. Layering the right clothes helps your body adjust to the changing temperatures and protects you from the wind. Polyesters, wool and polypropylene are good options because they keep moisture away from the skin. Use footwear that keeps your feet warm and dry; wearing a hat can prevent the loss of heat from your head.



Do not forget about hydration. It is just as important during cold weather as it is in the heat. Drink water or sports drinks before, during and after you workout, even if you are not that thirsty. You can become dehydrated in the cold from sweating, the drying power from the wind, breathing and increased urine production, but it may be harder to notice during cold weather.



It is important to condition for winter sports because you will already have built up stamina when the season comes around.



A is for alignment: Prolonged sitting or standing in a twisted manner can lead to poor alignment of your spine, hips or shoulders. This can cause discomfort and increase the risk of an injury and limiting you to perform at your best.

B is for balance: Crucial to almost every sport, your balance may need some training. Using a balance board or standing one legged on a pillow can help improve your balance. Balance will take time, but if you take time, you will be balancing on one leg.

C is for core training: Your core acts as an anchor for your legs and needs to be strong to stabilize your body. Exercises that rotate around your torso or core and exercise that involve bending forward or background are best for strengthening your core. These exercises can include planks and crunches.

Although basketball is not played outside, the season takes place during the winter months. Basketball requires speed, quickness and strength. Conditioning drills can help players get in shape for the season.

Here are some conditioning tips for the upcoming season:



The basketball mile will build stamina and endurance.

  1. Start off jogging for 20 seconds, then increase your jog to a full-out run for 20 seconds.
  2. After the run, jump forward for 20 seconds and then finish the cycle by walking for 20 seconds.
  3. Repeat this until you have gone for one mile, three times a week.  



The pyramid drill will also build endurance.

  1. Start off at the baseline of the court and sprint to the opposite baseline.
  2. Do one push-up.
  3. Then get up and sprint back to the starting baseline.
  4. Do two push-ups.
  5. Continue this until you are doing five push-ups.
  6. Take a minute break, and repeat the sprints.

For flexibility, use the core twist stretch: Stand with your knees slightly bent and your arms crossed in front of you. Slowly look over one shoulder and let your body follow until you feel a good stretch in your back and side. Hold for five seconds, and repeat in the other direction.

For endurance, train with a bike: Warm up with an easy five minute spin, and then add high intensity sprints for 30 seconds. Spin easy for a few minutes, and repeat for two to five times depending on your fitness level. Cool down for five minutes to finish the workout.

For side-to-side agility, stand in a half squat position: Stand in a relaxed half squat position and step quickly side to side keeping the inside foot off of the ground and focus on your weight on the inside edge of your outside foot. Do this for 30 seconds, rest and repeat for several times.


Winter is here. Winter sports and outdoor recreational activities may result in sport injuries. Our physicians always encourage our patients to remain active, but to do so safely. Mountainstate Orthopedic Associates has been providing quality care to its patients since 1977.

It is not too late to start training for the season. Now you know how to have fun while staying safe, whether it is on the court or on the slopes.

If you think you may have an injury from a winter sport, give us a call at 304-599-0720 to make an appointment today.

Topics: Sports related injuries