For many, the best part about winter weather is the opportunity to participate in their favorite winter sport. Whether you’re into indoor sports, such as ice skating and hockey, or spending time on the mountain skiing, snowboarding, sledding or snowmobiling, it’s important to minimize risk by following safety guidelines.
Here are some basic tips to help you get the most out of your favorite winter activity:
Dress appropriately: Any activity can come to an end quickly if you are cold and miserable while doing it. Dressing in several thin layers allows you to easily adjust to changing temperatures throughout the day. When selecting your clothing, be sure to choose fabrics that provide protection from the wind, and wick moisture away from the body. Avoid clothing that does not dry easily, such as cotton and denim. Be sure plan proper coverage for your head, hands and feet. If you feel overheated, you can easily remove your hat or gloves to cool down quickly.
Use the proper equipment: Regardless of what sport you participate in, it is crucial your equipment is well-maintained. If you own your equipment, be sure to take it out before the season starts and make any necessary repairs or tune-ups. Be sure children’s equipment from the previous year still fits correctly, and make any adjustments if needed. If you aren’t sure what to look for, take it to a shop that specializes in the equipment you use. If you are renting equipment, be sure to visit a dealer that is well-known and has several seasonal customers.
Stay in shape: Most winter sports activities require physical exertion, and you should be in good physical condition to safely participate. Rather than trying to get in shape just before the start of the season, choose activities throughout the year that will help you stay in shape for your favorite winter sport. If you haven’t been active for awhile, or are just getting back into shape, stay within your abilities and be conservative. Be mindful of injuries and week areas of your body, and know your limits. For those who are more extreme, warm up your muscles with low-impact exercises or stretching.
Follow safety rules: Winter sports already come with a risk due to the nature of the sport and changing conditions. Know the safety rules for your sport and follow them carefully. Observe posted guidelines for the ski area or skating rink, be aware of others, and never ignore safety warnings or area closures. When skiing or snowboarding, be sure to stay within boundaries and always have a buddy with you. If snowmobiling is your sport of choice, go slowly and never stay out past dark unless you are very familiar with the area.
Wear safety gear: Regardless of the activity you choose, wear the safety gear designed for that sport, even if it is considered optional. In addition to standard items, such as a helmet and goggles, it’s a good idea to carry a small pack with emergency supplies, a working GPS and sunscreen.
Know your limits: Be aware of your body and what it is telling you; if you’re tired, take a rest before you hit the next run. Build a strong foundation of basic skills and work your way to advanced and expert levels gradually. Drink plenty of water, avoid alcohol, and carry plenty of snacks.
When active outdoors, it’s important to be aware of your body and how you’re feeling. Don’t attempt to do a run or try something that’s beyond your current capabilities. If you’re tired, take a rest. Drink plenty of water, and avoid alcohol. Carry snacks, and don’t let yourself get overly hungry.
Contact Dickinson Insurance today to learn more about protecting yourself during winter sports.