SUNDAY, Jan. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Winter sports provide a
great way to enjoy the cold weather and to stay in shape, but can
pose risks if you don't take proper precautions, an expert
"Though some of us like to stay home indoors during the cold winter months, there are actually several sports that can help you take off the holiday pounds," Dr. Shepard Splain, chairman of the orthopedics department and director of the sports medicine division at Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center in New York City, said in a hospital news release.
"Skiing, skating and snowboarding are not only fun, but they are great cardiovascular exercises for anyone looking to be outside," Splain said. "Still, these activities are often more dangerous due to their high speeds and hard surfaces. The best way to stay safe and enjoy the entire season is to be prepared."
Begin your conditioning weeks in advance by doing core
strengthening, stretching and some form of calisthenics, Splain
said. Be sure you have the proper equipment and that it has been
checked and tuned. Always wear appropriate protective gear, such as
helmets and eyewear.
Dress appropriately and make sure you can adapt your clothing to
suit changing weather conditions, Splain advised.
Know and adhere to your limitations, especially if you're on
unfamiliar terrain. Take it easy early in the season and wait until
you are back in form before tackling more challenging
Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water or sports drinks. Many
people do not realize how quickly they can dehydrate in cold
weather. Never drink alcohol when doing winter sports. Alcohol
slows response times and affects your decision-making
Don't ignore injuries. If you have a hard fall, seek immediate
medical attention if it is anything worse than a scrape or bruise,
Splain said. Symptoms of common winter sports injuries such as
concussions or knee damage can start out mild before getting worse
over the course of a day.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission offers more
winter sports safety tips.