by Dr. Ross Levine, DPT
Winter is coming! Which means it’s time to dust off your ski’s, sharpen your snowboards, and get ready to hit the slopes. However, before you do that, it’s crucial to make sure you have the proper strength and flexibility to prevent an injury this season. Each year there are thousands of reported injuries from winter activities like ice skating, sledding, skiing, and snowboarding. Common injuries that result from these sports can range from sprains, strains, and dislocations of the knee, ankle, hand/wrist, and lower back. These injuries can be severe, but they are also easily preventable if you prepare for the day ahead and stay aware of what your body is capable of.
After gearing up and preparing for the day, follow some of these tips on staying strong and limber to enjoy all the fun these winter months have in store!
Hamstring Stretch Sit at the edge of your chair with one knee bent and the other straight out with your toes facing the ceiling. Keeping your back straight, gently lean forward until you feel a slight stretch behind the thigh. Hold that position for 30 seconds, then switch legs. Repeat three times.
Side Lunges Standing with feet shoulder width apart, take a large step out to one side, bending that knee, and sitting back to a squatting position (keeping the base leg straight). Push yourself back to the standing position by pressing your weight through the heel. Repeat ten times on each leg.
Lower Trunk Rotation Lying on your back, bend both knees with feet flat on the surface. Keeping the feet and knees together, rotate your hips and knees from side to side as far as possible without causing pain. Complete twenty total rotations with a 2-second hold on each side for each rotation.
These 3 simple exercises will help you maintain flexibility in your legs and lower back while strengthening some key muscles which are needed for winter sports. If you have any pre-existing injuries that you think may need some attention beyond these exercises, then do not hesitate to seek the advice of your local physical therapist prior to beginning any exercise or winter activities. They can help determine the proper exercises and recovery to get you back in the snow and ready to conquer the winter.
Dr. Ross Levine has worked with Performance Physical Therapy since 2016 as a physical therapist at our Providence location. After earning a bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science and Nutrition, Dr. Levine went on to earn his Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Franklin Pierce University. Since graduating he has earned certifications in instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization and dry needling. He has expertise in orthopedics, sports injuries, balance training, postural correction, and core stabilization.