Recovering From a Long Day on the Mountain
Spending an awesome day on the slopes cutting moguls on black diamond trails can be very rewarding, yet sometimes painful too. While skiing can be great exercise, engaging just about every muscle in your body, run after run can really overwork them and leave you feeling sore and aching for days after.
According to the 2012 Gallup Musculoskeletal Pain Market Segmentation Survey, in which interviews with 1,000 U.S. participants concluded that 800 of them experienced musculoskeletal pain within the last 12 months, 22 percent reported that their aches and pains were sports or exercise related. The data showed that of those who experienced pain, the back was the most commonly irritated area, followed by the knees, neck and shoulders. If you experience this kind of discomfort after a full day on the mountain, here are several steps to take to help ease the pain.
Before You Hit the Slopes
As always, before engaging in any type of physical activity, it's important to stretch before you put on your ski gear - and even more so in extremely cold temperatures. In these conditions, your muscles feel the effects and in turn, become more stiff than usual. This slows down your reaction time and range of movement. However, if you work on your flexibility and warm up with stretches just before taking a trip down the mountain, it will help you feel more nimble and better prepared.
During the Adventure
For skiers and snowboarders alike, it's essential that you wear boots that fit properly. If you are renting equipment, be sure you're appropriately fitted. Boots that are too small or too large will not only affect your ability to use correct form on the mountain, but they'll also cause discomfort in your feet and legs. Also, throughout the day it's important to stay hydrated, take frequent breaks and keep your body fueled with enough food.
After a Long Day on the Mountain
There's no better feeling than sitting down in the lodge and taking off your ski boots after a long day of perfect runs. Your feet finally feel free and you can wiggle your cold toes, stretch your legs and relax. During the first 24 to 48 hours after activity, if any of your muscles experience discomfort, using an ice pack will help to reduce aches and pain and aid in tension relief. After 72 hours, applying a heating pad to your affected muscles is the next step in the recovery process. Soaking in a warm bathtub, consistent massaging and stretching are all key as well.
Additional Tips and Tricks
It should go without saying that warm layers, appropriate clothing and a helmet will make the experience on the mountain that much more comfortable and enjoyable. Consider having portable seat warmers into your car before you head to the mountain. That way, at the end of a day out in the cold you'll be able to warm up even quicker as soon as you take off your gear and hop in the car. To help avoid chapped lips and windburn from the day's activities, be sure to use lotions and lip balms that seal in moisture. Keeping a supply of bandages, athletic tape and wraps on hand is also smart in the event of injury.