It’s December, there’s fresh powder on the ground—it’s ski season! Or snowboard season, or any number of adventurous winter sports. But not so fast—for the non-professional athlete (that would be most of us), there is a definite risk of injury doing these high-impact activities. Prepare your muscles and body to prevent back pain or injury due to skiing.

What will prevent you from injuring yourself? Already being in shape. What else will prevent you from injuring yourself? Proper technique.

According to Ski Magazine, being in shape helps you to avoid injury. It helps you to avoid falling, which is the main cause of injury while skiing. Staying fit improves your balance, reduces fatigue and strengthens key muscles. These can all make a big difference during a fall or collision. A high level of physical fitness is also important in minimizing injuries when you do fall.

Sometimes, falling is inevitable. Maybe you are on a black diamond when you should stick to green circles or blue squares. Maybe you are just going a little too fast and lose control. Maybe you are cruising down the slopes when a beginner snowboarder crashes into you and you go flying. It could be anything. But by staying in shape, you are potentially lessening the severity of injury during a fall.

“If you’ve got good muscle tone and flexibility, you might prevent a more severe injury because you can handle more load on a specific joint,” said Dr. Brian Halpern, a sports medicine specialist at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City and author of The Knee Crisis Handbook.

The most common ski mishaps are knee and head injuries. But back pain and injury are also possible. A study published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine found that lower back pain became more common as professional skiers bumped up their training to get ready for competition. Thus, the same results could be expected for the average person who is not a professional athlete. When you are not used to the activity and then throw yourself into it, like on a weekend ski trip, you are at a higher risk for pain and injury.

Proper technique is also important when skiing, in order to prevent pain and injury. For novices, this means staying “in an athletic position while skiing, utilizing your core muscles for stability,” said Brant Moles, professional skier and instructor. Moles also recommends taking it easy early in the season as your body may not be in ski shape yet.

If you are experiencing back pain, contact us. Or call our dedicated Medical Concierge at 1-800-890-1964 to learn more or set up a consultation.