Winter sports such as skating, skiing and snow-boarding can be dangerous. Information to help winter sports enthusiasts prevent hypothermia, sunburn, and orthopedic injuries is provided.
In snow or on ice, the first thing to remember is that the surfaces are slippery. Slippery conditions can cause you to go much faster on skis and ice skates than you are skilled for, creating a potential for serious injury. Be sure to take lessons before you try out your skis or skates. Lessons will teach you how to control your speed, how to turn safely, and, most important, how to stop before running into a tree or rock. Even if you have already taken lessons, a refresher course might be just what you need to keep safe this winter.
While participating in outdoor winter activities, it’s important to keep your body warm. Your clothes must protect your body against the danger of hypothermia and frostbite. Hypothermia is a serious condition that causes your body to lose heat and not be able to restore it. Symptoms include slurred speech, loss of coordination, disorientation, and intense shivering. If your body temperature goes below 95 [degrees] F, you’ll need medical attention right away.
Watch the outdoor temperature and the wind chill index. The windier it is, the colder it will feel to your body. If you get wet from melting snow, moisture in the air, or even our own sweat be aware of the possibility of hypothermia. Wear waterproof clothing when possible. If you get wet, go indoors and change clothes. Wear several layers of lightweight clothing instead of one thick layer. As your exercise and your body warms up, you can remove a layer of clothing to keep your clothes from becoming wet with sweat. Take along some snacks. Eating helps your body keep warm and gives you energy to keep moving.
Hypothermia can be life-threatening, so be aware of the dangers of cold weather. Don’t stay outside if you’re feeling chilled. Don’t keep wet clothes on. Keep warm with warm food, warm drinks, and warm clothing. And seek immediate medical attention if any of the symptoms of keep moving.
Hypothermia can be life-threatening, so be aware of the dangers of cold weather. Don’t stay outside if you’re feeling chilled. Don’t keep wet clothes on. Keep warm with warm food, warm drinks, and warm clothing. And seek immediate medical attention if any of the symptoms of hypothermia appear.
Frostbite is what happens to exposed parts of the body when skin temperature dips below 32 [degrees] F. Ice crystals form on the skin or the tissue underneath. To help protect your hands, mittens are better than gloves. Also, wearing a couple pairs of socks will help your feet stay warm. And wear a hat that covers your ears. A hat will also keep the rest of your body warmer. Much of your body heat (up to 40 percent) is lost through the head. To protect your face and lips from chapping and windburn, the American Running and Fitness Association suggests putting on a thin layer of petroleum jelly.
Even in winter, UV rays from the sun can burn your skin. The Skin Cancer Foundation suggests that any exposed skin have on a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher. Apply the sunscreen at least half an hour before going outside. Not only is your skin being hit directly by UV rays, but snow and ice can reflect as much as 90 percent of the sun’s rays back onto you. Higher altitudes will cause greater exposure to the sun’s radiation. Remember your eyes, too, are in danger from the sun’s harmful rays. Protect them with sunglasses or goggles that have UV filtering.
Now that you are thinking about your body’s safety, here are some ways to check your winter sports gear to keep you safe. Your gear needs to fit you properly. If you are unsure about the fit of your skis or skates, seek help from someone experienced in those areas. Rented skis and skates should be checked carefully. Check the blades on the skates to see if they are screwed on tightly. Skates should not be loose on your feet, and for good support they should be laced snugly around the ankles.
Ski boots should fit you the same way as ice skates. They should be snug, not tight. The most important part of ski equipment is the bindings. This is the part that attaches the boot to the ski. The bindings will release the ski if you twist or turn wrong – so that you don’t sprain or break your leg. Bindings are set by your weight and skill level and must be adjusted by someone who is experienced. Make sure you are using skis that are appropriate for your skill level. There are various lengths for downhill skis as well as beginning and more advanced skis for cross-country skiing. If you are skiing in a recreation area, stay on the path at all times and use paths that correspond to your level of skill.
Snow boarding is the most rapidly growing winter sport and the cause of an increase in serious orthopedic injuries. Be sure to wear wrist supports, a helmet, and soft boots with strap bindings, and stay in control.
Use Common Sense
If you will be ice skating on an outdoor pond, make sure the ice is fully frozen. Skate only at recognized community skating areas. When sledding, keep your hands on top of the sled and your feet up off the snow and away from the runners of the sled. Snowmobiles should be used only in designated areas. Observe all safety precautions.
While you are outside enjoying the great sports of the season, use common sense. If you feel chilled, take a break and warm up with dry clothes and warm food. Test your equipment to make sure it’s safe for use. Finally, take a friend along with you, You’ll double your fun by sharing it with someone and you’ll double your safety as well.