5 tips for avoiding winter sports injuries

Most avid exercisers and athletes don't let winter keep them inside. Many participate in winter sports to stay active. If you enjoy winter sports, it is important to stay clear of potential winter sports injuries by heeding these five tips.

5 tips for avoiding winter sports injuries

1. Be physically fit

  • Performing cardio and strength training exercises can prevent winter sports injuries.
  • According to the Canadian Physical Activity guidelines, adults aged 18 years and older should participate in at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity, per week, along with strength training activities on at least two days per week.

2. Eat well

  • Eating nutritious foods fuels the body and gives it energy to move with more tenacity while out in the cold.
  • The Coaching Association of Canada recommends eating foods that are high in complex carbohydrates to help sustain the body and assist in muscle recovery while playing winter sports.
  • Foods that are high in complex carbs include beans, brown rice, oatmeal, quinoa and sweet potatoes.
  • Also, lean proteins are important for energy and for sustained endurance.
  • Some recommended proteins are bison, lean chicken, salmon, tuna and venison.

3. The body has its limits

  • Over-exertion can make a person more susceptible to sprains and strains while participating in winter sports.
  • Signs of over-exertion include decreased cognitive functioning, depression, increased heart rate, irritability and severe fatigue.
  • A tired individual should forgo any physical activity and get some rest.

4. Dress in layers

  • To stay warm while playing winter sports, clothing should be worn in layers.
  • To dress in layers, first use a base layer of long underwear. Next, add a mid-layer, such as a sweater and waterproof pants. Then, top the mid-layers off with a water and windproof jacket to provide insulation.
  • Another important tip for staying warm is to remember to protect the extremities. Using earmuffs can provide warmth for the outer and inner ear. Gloves and mittens are recommended to keep hands warm.
  • Also, wearing boots or sneakers that are waterproof can keep the feet and toes toasty and less susceptible to frostbite.
  • For maximum insulation and comfort, make sure that clothing is constructed from fleece or wool.
  • Also, avoid clothing constructed from cotton while playing winter sports, since cotton does not trap heat.

5. Wear protective gear

  • To reduce the risk of fractures and other serious injuries, it is vital to wear protective gear, especially headgear, while participating in winter sports.
  • These tips can help you enjoy winter sports while staying safe.
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