How to prepare for winter sports

Winter arrives and we lose the desire to do sports. But there are also people who, despite the low temperatures, find the right environment for cross-country skiing, snowboarding, hiking or running.

Whether you identify with the first group or you are one of those who are encouraged to exercise, it is important that you follow these tips to get the most out of winter sports.

The importance of hydration

It is common for winter sports to be practiced in an environment with low humidity. This accelerates our dehydration process, a factor that we must take into account to mitigate it with a good pattern of hydration during a day of skiing, snowboarding or climbing and fluid replenishment at the end.

Dehydration impairs sports performance and increases the risk of injury due to the early onset of fatigue and lack of reflexes. It is especially dangerous on hiking routes in high mountains because of the risk of having a serious accident, but it should not be ignored in skiing or snowboarding, where dehydration can be reflected in cramps and avoidable falls.

It is important to drink isotonic preparations as it is possible to be dehydrated without being thirsty. To prevent this, it is a good idea to always carry water or this type of beverage to hydrate yourself during the day. At the end of the day, be sure to replenish nutrients and electrolytes with isotonic drinks.

Staying in shape

Most sports can be practiced, with adaptations, at any time of the year. But other sports that depend more on the weather, such as skiing or snowboarding, have a more limited time of enjoyment; this can cause you to neglect your physical fitness during the rest of the year.

This mistake is often paid for in the form of injuries as it requires a high resistance of the muscles and tendons of the legs.

Swimming, running, active walking, strength training, pilates, hiking… there are lots of sports practices that help to improve the condition of the locomotor system to keep it in good shape when the ski season arrives.

It is also recommended to start your skiing or snowboarding session with a few minutes of warm-up and end with stretching.

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Preparing the knees

It is estimated that 40% of skiing injuries are knee injuries. It is the most exposed joint while skiing and many of these incidents are related to the lack of previous physical preparation. It is common to find skiers who do practically no exercise or physical activity during the rest of the year.

At iQtra we recommend taking care of our knees during the rest of the year by doing exercises that help strengthen, tone and preserve the joint without damaging it. And in turn, proprioceptive exercises to enhance stability and balance, stretching to prevent muscle shortening and muscle toning to balance the quadriceps (anterior thigh muscles), hamstrings and calves (in the back of the leg).

In this sense, we must not forget the lumbar and abdominal areas, it is decisive to give stability to the rest of the body and maintain balance, which is essential in the practice of skiing.

For snowboarders, we recommend paying attention to your wrists, collarbones and shoulders, as these are the most vulnerable areas.

Eye care

In this case, we have no choice but to echo the advice of ophthalmologists, who remind us every year that our eyes also suffer in winter from ultraviolet radiation, even on cloudy days and even if the sun does not shine as brightly as in summer. Thus, in these months it is not advisable to keep sunglasses properly approved to ensure that they filter UVA rays.

On the other hand, eye protection is essential if you are going to practice mountain sports. Specialists insist on pointing out that snow reflects almost all of the sun’s rays and that whether you practice sports in the high mountains or simply go up to the mountains to spend the day, you should take extreme precautions when it comes to protecting your eyes.

Goggles for skiing or snowboarding should be lightweight, but resistant to possible bumps and falls.