An east coast transplant to California, I’ve fallen in love with the mountains. In the winter, for me that means strapping on a snowboard to play in the snow in Tahoe. As those of you who ski and snowboard know, this requires a certain level of fitness. Aside from the endurance and general strength it takes to have fun out there, there comes risk. Having the perspective of being on orthopedic physical therapist, I see first hand the injuries that can happen out there, to all different degrees. I’ve also been injured myself, and was reminded how important it is to take care of my body properly so I can keep snowboarding...until I’m 80 or older!
Having started snowboarding later in life, having more awareness of the risks associated because of what I do, and just some of my personality, I definitely ride more conservatively out there; my main goal being having fun. I know the consequences of taking more risks with my riding, especially when the conditions are firm or icy. Now that being said, I still like to get out there, make smart decisions, like calling it a day when I feel that fatigue set in. Most importantly, I train my body for the hill. Sure it’s important to work on endurance and cardio, and cross train, but more importantly is balance and core stabilization training. I make it happen, every day during the week...I pick 4 or 5 quick exercises to keep challenging my stability to increase my response out there, so my body knows how to respond to the variable conditions that present themselves.
Everyone out there should have a program to prepare themselves for the season, and upkeep during the season. That should include a flexibility program (my foam roller lives up at my ski house during the season), a strength and core stability program (including things that challenge your balance on uneven surfaces), and a dynamic warm up program to start off before the first turns of the day. With doing those things, you will significantly decrease your risk of injury, your body will be more stable on the hill absorbing those bumps, and you will even perform better. And when you do have an injury, even a minor one, it’s important to consult with a PT (the movement experts) to minimize your time off the slope and get your body back to functioning quicker. I didn’t do this when I should have last year, and ended up limited in my summer activities because of it...lesson learned!
Jessica Monaloy, PT CIMT
San Francisco Sport and Spine Physical Therapy