Heading to the slopes to ski or snowboard? – you have got to read this first!

Ok so the last couple of days in the bay have been super cold for our standards

Winter is here and many people will head to the snow for a well earned break. While skiing/boarding comes naturally to some, others spend most of their time unsuccessfully negotiating the equipment and terrain. Whatever your level of experience, skiing/ boarding can be hazardous and contribute to injury. The physiotherapists in our practice can help. We can ensure that you are prepared for the slopes by minimising your injury risk through specific exercise programmes, fitness regimes, strengthening and warm up, stretching and cool down techniques.

To avoid injury this snow season, the physiotherapists in our practice recommend you:

Be fit to ski/snowboard

Begin to incorporate ski-specific exercises into your regular exercise routine at least eight weeks prior to your holiday. This will promote use of the muscles and joints required for skiing. Strengthen the muscles specific to snow sports (thighs, butts, core stabilisers and triceps) to reduce the risk of injury and increase your enjoyment and endurance on the slopes. We can outline ski-specific or board-specific exercises whilst prescribing a conditioning programme to improve your core stability and muscle strength. Ultimately, your performance on the slopes relies on your fitness, so talk to us about how to achieve an optimal fitness level. We have access to a number of gyms around Tauranga and can write you a ski or board specific program and you won’t be tied into a long term membership!! Talk to us about Bureta Physio’s corporate gym rates 

Look after your back

When travelling distances to reach the mountain, rest every two hours and stretch. See one of our physiotherapists for effective stretching advice, and if you have had problems with your back come into the clinic and pick up a Lumbar roll for the trip which means when you unfold yourself after the trip you are ready to go

Warm up, stretch and cool down

Before hitting the slopes, warm up like you would with any other sporting activity. Stretch your thigh, calf and arm muscles check out or blog on dynamic stretches. Start your day with easy runs to loosen up (make sure you also do this after each rest break.) Once you have finished skiing for the day, remembers to cool down. These activities will better prepare your body to avoid injury. We can show you warm up, stretching and cool down techniques.

Ski within your capabilities

Beginners should take advantage of a ski lesson and not succumb to the pressure of keeping up with experienced skiers. Don’t be afraid to rest when you find yourself getting tired. Fatigue can increase your injury risk. And remember, the more unfit you are, the more tired you will become. Injuries often happen on that last run of the day!

To avoid injury on the snowfields this winter, consult one of our physiotherapists on how to best prepare your body.

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Is your stretching program putting you at risk?

Stretching – Recent research shows us a number of factors that affect when, why and for how long we stretch.

The latest research suggests that general stretching prior to exercise does not prevent injuries- in fact traditional static stretching (where a muscle is held on stretch for a period of time) has been shown to decrease muscle contraction for 20mins post stretch- adversely affecting muscle performance.
Dynamic stretching has been shown to be much more effective at preparing the body for exercise. Dynamic stretching is about preparing the body for sport and involves movement to end range to put stretch on tissues. This type of stretch signals to the body that we are preparing for action and has been more effective at preparing the body for exercise.
Traditional static stretching can be useful after exercise to prevent post exercise soreness
Talk to our team of Physiotherapists to devise the most appropriate dynamic stretching program prior to your exercise – this can benefit the weekend warrior going for a run, surf or cycle etc, right up to the elite sports people that we look after.

Those people with specific injuries may need to stretch these areas in order to prevent them causing further problems
Physiotherapist uses stretching and joint mobilisation to gain range of movement in strutcures that have lost range. This can be either a joint, or your soft tissues (muscles/ connective tissue/ ligaments)

5 gardening tips to prevent injury

Summer is here, the garden is going crazy, and it’s time to get out there and sort it out. Carrying compost or watering cans or pushing heavy barrows around the garden can increase your risk of injury, particularly for older people.

Our physiotherapists can advise you how to avoid these injuries whilst gardening.

We often treat patients with wrist, shoulder and back pain attributed to carrying heavy items and lifting awkward loads. To avoid this, we recommend that you warm up before and after gardening by stretching. We can recommend the type of stretches that would be most appropriate.

For our older patients who are at greater injury risk, we recommend gardening earlier in the day when the weather is cool and bright. This will minimise the risk of evening falls caused by reduced vision.

To help we have some handy tips for you to use when gardening. For more comprehensive information on avoiding injury whilst gardening or undertaking other household activities see one of our physiotherapists.

Tip 1 Bend your knees

When lifting items, remember to bend your knees, not your back. Never twist your body when your back is bent. When lifting, keep your feet apart and one slightly in front of the other. If you are unsure, we can demonstrate these techniques for you.

Tip 2 Don’t overfill

Never overfill your bucket, barrow or watering can. Only carry as much weight as you know you can lift comfortably. If you are unsure, we can help suggest an appropriate weight for you.

Tip 3 Equalise your loads

Distribute the load equally on each side of the body by using two lighter containers rather than one heavy one.

Tip 4 Closeness is the key

Always carry buckets, containers or loads as close to your body as possible. Holding any weight away from your body increases the stress on your upper body and back.

Tip 5 Use your surroundings

Place a watering can on a stool or chair when filling it, so you don’t have to lift it up as far when it’s filled. Place garden pots and containers on a bench to avoid bending to plant them out or work on them.