Winter sports and how to avoid injury
26 January 2016 - 14:45, by , in News, Comments off

Although we all love winter sports and that exhilarating feeling of flying down the slopes, unfortunately there is a high incidence of injuries.  Often it is that last run at the end of the day when the body is tired and everyone is over exerting themselves (or over indulged in the après ski) when the injuries occur.  Of course we at Pilates Plus are not trying to be the fun police and we are delighted that so many of our team participate in winter sports.  We just want to show that the majority of these injuries can be prevented with just a few simple tips and strategies!

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Mostly injuries that occur on the slopes are sprains, strains, dislocations and fractures.  Injury-prevention strategies include:

  • Maintaining good physical condition prior to your trip,
  • Working on building sport specific muscular control required for snowsports
  • Listen to your body and stop when feeling tired/exhausted or in any pain.
  • Warm up and stretch as we discussed in our last newsletter
  • Make sure you ski/snowboard at your own level

 

How can Pilates help with skiing?

Any avid skier will tell you that pre-ski training and preparation is essential.  Some of the key areas for training as a skier are:

  • Pelvic stability – maintaining good alignment whilst moving your lower limbs
  • Core stability/recruitment and balance are crucial to prevent falls and allow for changes of direction
  • Mobility of joints to allow full range of motion
  • Flexibility of key muscle groups, preventing overuse and muscular imbalances

Pilates can help with all of the above! Pilates allows correct core muscle engagement, strengthening the deep abdominals therefore improving balance and all over body strength, posture and alignment. This results in improved proprioception skills (the awareness of where the body is in space) and therefore a more adaptable agile skier adjusting to different conditions.

At Pilates Plus we work specifically on developing core strength, balance, and mobility in our classes. Inner (core) strength, can hugely improve the ability to transfer weight whilst skiing e.g. changing direction, moving to the edge of the skis during turning techniques. As your hips rotate into a turn in skiing your torso counter rotates in the opposite direction it is this movement that provides control and momentum through a turn.  Pilates can provide you with the range of motion required for such rotational movements but in a controlled manor. In addition a strong core together with improved muscular alignment can help reduce the impact on a skier’s back, hips, and knee joints.

 

Postural alignment is one of the key elements we work on in Pilates. This can help a skier by maintaining control whilst dynamically moving the body. The torso should be upright and shoulders/neck in good alignment and relaxed. Working from the base of support up, the shoulders, hips and knees should be stacked correctly allowing for good weight distribution and no added areas of pressure.

In Pilates we also do stretching and myofascial release techniques which result in improving muscular balances and flexibility.  Pilates allows the body to work all of these key elements described simultaneously which is why it works so well for sport.  Pilates can work really well for pre-season training, maintenance and rehabilitation for skiers in order to achieve muscle balance and avoid sport specific injuries.  Fundamentally using Pilates can help skiers become energy efficient and reduce wear and tear on the joints supporting the body and preventing injury.

The following exercises are great for skiers:

 

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Split Squat Lunge

Step one foot behind the other (large step) feet should be approx hip width apart. Keep your upper body upright, shoulders back and down, engage your core and drop down into the lunge, watch your knee position (you should be able to see you front toes). Repeat on one side x 10 then change sides.

 

 

 

 

 

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Side leg lift/glides – gluts

Start in a half squat position and drop the upper body slightly forwards (as if you are skiing downhill). Glide one leg out to the side and lift, keeping the supporting leg bent. You should feel this in both the supporting leg and the leg that is lifting out to the side. Repeat x 10 on each side, if you want to make this harder you can add a theraband.

 

 

 

Single leg balance work

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Start in an upright position bend the supporting leg, engage your centre and gently tilt yourself forwards using your arms to counterbalance, extending the back leg parallel to the ground and hold for at least 10 seconds (if you can!) Repeat 5 x alternating legs. Again this exercise will work the supporting leg and the extended leg and it is brilliant for balance control.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoy the snow and have fun doing with your winter sports! Remember if there are any injury issues or you want some advice regarding pre-habilitation before you go off for your ski holidays we would be more than happy to build a specific programme suited to you. Please feel free to book in and see us for a consultation at Physio Plus 0131 226 5009.

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