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November 20, 2010 at 1:00 PMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Gearing Up for Winter Sports

By Smarty More Blogs by This Author

The cold winter months might keep some people indoors, but for others, this time of the year means it's finally time to enjoy some winter sports. Snowboarding, sledding, and skiing have all become very popular. Here are some tips  to keep in mind as you have fun in the snow this year.

Stay Warm

One of the main concerns people have about being outside in the winter is keeping warm. When you are outside, layer your clothing, especially if you are participating in a sport. Depending on your body's temperature, it might be necessary to add or remove layers as the weather changes. Pay attention to the weather reports and stay ahead of any anticipated storms. Make sure that you are not outside for extended periods of time. Protect your head, hands, and feet by wearing a hat, gloves, and appropriate snow shoes or boots. Also, wearing more than one pair of socks can provide additional warmth to your toes. Frostbite could set in unexpectedly, so never leave yourself vulnerable.

Protect Your Skin from Sun

Similar to a hot day in the summer, a winter sun can also be damaging if you are exposed to it for too long. The sun actually reflects off of the snow, which is bright normally, and might be just as strong as it is in warmer months. You can wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 and lip balm that also contains sunscreen. Even on days that are cloudy, sunscreen is needed.

Sled Safely

Carefully look at the hill you are sledding down before trying it. The bottom of the hill should not be near any roads or cars. Never sled down a hill that is too steep or is covered in ice. Sometimes, ice can hide underneath a layer of snow, so check to make sure that the hill you are sledding on has only snow and is clear of rocks or trees. When selecting a sled, it needs to be sturdy enough to support you. Avoid using homemade sleds or older sleds that could have broken pieces on them. The handles should be easy to steer and it is essential that you can control the sled at all times. Stay seated on the sled because lying flat increases the risk of an injury.

Equip Yourself For Skiing and Snowboarding

Equipment is extremely important for skiing and snowboarding, as well as other winter activities. Helmets, goggles, and padding are not optional, they are mandatory. Use equipment that is your size and that fits you correctly. Take the time to learn the sport you are playing and do not try to ski or snowboard in places that are beyond your capability. Gradually build up your experience and stay on courses that represent your current skill level. Although it might seem like fun to try a challenge, the danger that exists is not worth it in the long run.

General Precautions

Whenever you are outside in the winter months, be sure that other people are with you. In case of an accident or emergency, you can help each other. Do not ice skate on any surface that is unapproved. Call the local authorities to find out which spots are approved for skating. Remember to stay hydrated and perform stretching exercises to prepare your muscles before playing a winter sport.

Sources:

http://www.healthsystem.virginia.edu/internet/outreach/communityoutreach/childsafetyandwellness/factsheets/new-winter-sports.pdf

http://www.mgh.harvard.edu/children/adolescenthealth/articles/aa_winter_sports_safety.aspx

http://kidshealth.org/kid/watch/out/winter_sports.html#

http://kidshealth.org/kid/watch/out/winter_sports.html#

http://kidshealth.org/kid/watch/out/winter_sports.html#

http://kidshealth.org/kid/watch/out/winter_sports.html#

http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=52365

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