Skiing and snow sports, the rules for practicing them safely

From the preskii preparation to the maintenance of the equipment, from the moderation of the speed to the attention not to overdo it. Here are all the tips to reduce the risks of accidents and damage caused to yourself and others

SKI, sledding or snowboarding. The winter season has opened the doors to these and other sports in the snow, with great adhesion of enthusiasts and new players. If skiing is primarily fun, do not forget that it is a sport that can involve risks and therefore requires appropriate preparation and precise measures. In fact, on the one hand the number of people practicing these activities increases and on the other there are also accidents on the snow, as a study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons points out. One of the frequent causes of injury, scientists explain, is imprudence, which leads skiers and snowboarders to exaggerate in speed and acrobatics. Risking damage to the spine, pelvis, shoulders, wrist, hands, knees, feet and ankles. And if certain risks are unavoidable even for the most prudent, there are measures that can minimize the likelihood of inconveniences. We talked about this with Piero Volpi, Respondable of Orthopedics of the knee and Traumatology of sport of Humanitas.

Fun and sport, skiing combines the playful element with an aerobic physical activity beneficial for body and mind. But you do not have to throw yourself on skis without being properly prepared. In this sense, underlines Volpi, the presciistica, from stretching to a light run, up to muscle strengthening to aerobic activity of various types, provides a first fundamental training for any sport on the snow you decide to practice. “Increasing the elasticity of the lower limbs, the most stressed by these sports, strengthening the muscles and activating the cardiorespiratory system – explains Volpi – are some of the important measures to be implemented before wearing skis”.

Skiing is good for young people, adults and often even elderly people, the expert clarifies, always with adequate preparation and in the absence of specific pathologies that prevent these activities. “There is no age limit – explains Volpi – up to 60 years there are no particular problems. After 60 or 70 years, you can still ski, even if muscle elasticity and bone hold are reduced. And that’s why it’s important to be even more cautious, getting checked by the doctor and reducing the speed on the track “.

Excessive speed, crowded or mixed slopes, where skiing and snowboarding are practiced, reduced distance, are some elements that contribute to increasing the risk of accidents. Dangers that can be minimized with the right behavior on the track. “A rule for all is to move at a speed not too high – underlines the expert – especially in downhill skiing, where running too much is one of the main causes of damage for themselves and for others”. A bit like when driving the car, sport ethics requires that even on skis you have the right to protect yourself and others.

Absolutely, the doctor clarifies, there are no contraindications with respect to skiing, even if in particular health conditions, such as excessive overweight or injuries to the joints – especially the knee – increases the risk of falling and getting hurt. Another rule, do not overdo it. It is good not to exceed this activity, although very fun: skiing 8 or 9 hours a day is too much, the ideal is to practice this sport two or three hours in the morning and two or three hours in the afternoon. “Fatigue can play bad jokes – assures the expert – and from the European and world statistics, the highest incidence of accidents and injuries happens right in the last descents, when the reflexes are less ready and the fatigue of the day or a meal too much abundant can be felt “.

For those who start skiing, at any age, it is also important to make a visit to the general practitioner indicating the intention to start this new activity and to deepen the risks and benefits of sport a visit to the sports doctor.

Another element for safe skiing consists in paying attention to the equipment. Unlike other sports, skiing requires the use and maintenance of very sophisticated technical materials and for this there are shops and specialized centers. “Uncomfortable skis, boots and well-regulated bindings – the expert continues – fight the risks of falls and injuries. Another essential element is the helmet, mandatory up to 14 years but also recommended for older children and adults “. An example is that of an attack too rigid, which does not allow you to easily detach the foot from the ski.

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