While significant equipment improvements have reduced the overall rate of skiing injuries by 50 percent since the 1970s, according to the National Ski Areas Association, about 144,000 skiing-related injuries still land amateur skiers in hospitals, doctors' offices and emergency rooms each year. Many of these can be prevented before the ski season even begins by physically preparing for the array of twists, turns and bends required to safely hit the slopes, explains Dr. Styles.
"Skiers should think about conditioning for this sport long before ski season arrives," says Dr. Styles, a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon. "Few sports are as physically demanding as downhill skiing, yet many skiers hit the slopes after little or no training in the pre-season. Fall is the best time to make sure your body is slope-worthy."
Most prevalent ski injuries
What injuries are most likely on the mountain? Falls account for 75 to 85 percent of them, regardless of the type, according to the American College of Sports Medicine. The most common injuries include those of the:
5 components of effective ski conditioning
Don't want to become an injury statistic? Here are 5 key parts to a beneficial pre-season ski training program:
Regardless of which combination of exercises and strength training you choose to get ready for the ski season, try to begin your regimen at least six weeks before hitting the slopes, Dr. Styles recommends.
"By undertaking a pre-season ski conditioning program, you can avoid the pitfalls of injury and take your skiing to new heights," Dr. Styles says. "Your physical condition is the most important part of preventing ski injuries and getting the most enjoyment out of skiing."
Stuart T. Styles, M.D., F.A.A.O.S. is a board certified orthopaedic surgeon with Somers Orthpaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine.
Somers Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine Group, PLLC, was founded in 1988 and is one of the most comprehensive and specialized practices in the region. www.somersortho.com
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