Winter has descended on the Vail Valley and many people have been hitting the slopes, lacing up skates, strapping on snowshoes and otherwise enjoying winter. It is important to take the following steps to avoid injury:
- Move outside cautiously: Just as you drive a car with greater caution when roads are icy, take extra care when walking outside on icy and snowed packed surfaces. Take an extra pair of shoes to work or to the mountain so you can wear shoes with good traction in parking lots. Remember to walk slowly and pay attention so you can adjust to a slippery surface.
- Ensure a proper warm up: Spend about 10 minutes at the start of any activity at a lower than normal exertion level. Your warm up should mimic the activity in which you are about to engage: if you are snowshoeing, start of at a slower pace; if your are skiing, hit easier trails for your first few runs.
- Avoid 'too much, too soon': Many months have passed between the end of last winter and now. Take steps to properly condition your body before engaging in a physical activity you have not done in a while. This can mean doing off season conditioning and cross-training as well as seeing a physical therapist to learn about any weaknesses or instability you may have, that can put you at risk of injury.
- Remember to cool down: Take some time at the end of physical activity to cool your body down. Return to a lower exertion level so you can signal to your body that you are ending activity.