Avoiding Back Pain While Skiing
November is quickly approaching and with it will come the opening of Colorado’s famous ski slopes. It’s time to get back into skiing shape. A good place to start is your core muscles. Core muscles are all of your abdominal and back muscles that create the support your back needs to be healthy and pain-free. Unfortunately, for many of us, our core muscles are weaker than they should be. This is mostly due to sitting at a desk for 8 hours a day and not getting the proper amount of daily exercise. When we sit at a desk, our core muscles tend to weaken over time. The muscles we would typically use to walk, run, jump, and lift are not being used as much, so they slowly degenerate. When these muscles weaken, the support your spine needs to function normally can be compromised. This can cause significant and even chronic back pain. And, it leaves you more vulnerable to back injuries.
Being physically active is extremely important, especially if you plan to be doing something as physically demanding as skiing. Ideally, you will be exercising all year and getting at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity every week. Working out year-round will help you dodge the negative side effects that come with working out at such high elevations. However, if you have been a little less active recently and you want to get back into ski shape, consider some of these simple exercises to strengthen your core.
Exercise 1: Side Planks
- 30-60 seconds on each side; repeat 2-3 times
- Side planks are perfect for building up endurance and stabilizing the lower back for activities that heavily use your hips.
Exercise 2: Supermans
- 15-30 second hold; repeat 3 times
- Supermans are great for strengthening weak back muscles, but also work on your glutes and hamstring muscles.
Exercise 3: Bridges
- 10 second holds; repeat up to 30 times
- Bridges benefit your lower back, hips, and abs. It also increases flexibility.
It is nearly as important to be flexible as it is to be fit. Good flexibility is a great way to reduce muscles strains. After you complete a warm up, take a few extra minutes to perform these simple stretches that target the most important parts of a skier’s body.
Stretch 1: Knee-to-chest stretch (single & full)
- 20-second holds; repeat 2-3 times twice a day
- These are great for easing muscle tension after workouts as it stretches the lower back and hamstrings.
Stretch 2: Cat stretch
- 20-second holds; repeat 3-5 times twice a day
- The cat stretch improves balance while stretching the spine and neck.
Stretch 3: Shoulder blade squeeze
- 15-second holds; repeat 3-5 times twice a day
- Do this stretch to train the muscles between the shoulder blades as well as improve your posture.
The slopes can cause major wear and tear on your body. Simply carrying all of the heavy skiing equipment can place a significant strain on your lower back. The spine also takes a toll each time you fall you jar, twist, and place stress on your spine and its tissues. With any strenuous activity like skiing, it is always a good idea to report injuries or pain to a local chiropractor.
A great chiropractor will not just treat you for the time that you are in pain. Rather, they will lay out a program that not only relieves any current problems but also one that addresses future issues. This regimen may include massage therapy, acupuncture, decompression, physical therapy and your typical spinal adjustments. At Reinhardt Chiropractic, our team will develop a unique combination of treatments to not only help you today but ensure you a healthy future. Contact us and schedule an appointment to get back into skiing shape.
Together we can prepare for a healthy and fun ski season.
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