Tips to Prep for Winter Sports

IMG_6408If you’re a winter sports enthusiast, you’re probably looking forward to the start of snow season. But after months of not using certain muscles regularly, they become under active, which increases the risk of injury. Do these moves a few minutes a day in the weeks leading up to your first outdoor outing, and you’ll increase the flexibility in your muscles and joints.

Skiing | Common injury spot: Hamstring
Try this Stretch: Lie on your back with your feet through a doorway. Keep one leg flat on the ground. Lift the other to rest on the door’s side. Scoot your butt forward as far as comfortable; hold for 10 breaths. Repeat with the other leg.

Snowboarding | Common injury spot: Lower back
Protect it: Keep your spine supple with twists. Sit on the edge of a chair, turn to look over your left shoulder and hold; repeat on the right. Next, lie on your back and pull your knees toward your chest. Slide your arms to shoulder height, then gently let your knees fall to one side; hold several seconds. Repeat on the opposite side.
Skating | Common injury spot: Wrist (breaks, sprains)
Get into a push-up position, and rest your shins on a stability ball. Keeping your legs as straight as you can, bend from your hips to pull shins toward chest. Hold 3 or 4 seconds, then push back to starting position. Do 2-3 sets of 10. Next, build strength with lateral lunges. Stand with feet together, then step to the right, keeping your toes forward. Keeping your left leg straight, bend your right knee and lower into a squat. Hold, then push back to standing. Do 15 per side.
More smart moves To improve balance: Get familiar with yoga’s tree pose. Stand with both feet facing forward. Slowly lift your left foot so the bottom rests inside your right thigh, toes down, knee out. Place your hands in prayer pose in front of your chest; when you feel able, lift your arms above your head and look up. Hold several seconds, then repeat with your right foot.
To protect your knees: Do hip openers. “Knee problems are almost always the result of tight hips,” says Asad. Sit on the edge of a chair. Put your right ankle on your left knee. Flex your foot and lean forward as far as you can. Hold 10 seconds. Repeat with your left leg.