4 Winter Sports Chiropractic Tips From an Olympian

Snow is coming! Whether you or your kids are energized by skiing, skating, or sledding, keep reading for tips on staying safe while enjoying the winter weather in Sioux Falls! Here are a few tips from the American Chiropractic Association and Olympic speedskating gold and silver medalist Derek Parra.

1. Wear warm clothing

Did you know that simply walking outside in the freezing weather without layers of warm clothing can intensify older joint problems and cause a great deal of pain? As your muscles and blood vessels contract to conserve body heat, the blood supply to your extremities is reduced. Stay warm by wearing layers.

2. Warm up well

"Simply put, warming up is essential," says Olympic medalist Derek Parra. "In fact, when pressed for time, it's better to shorten the length of your workout and keep a good warm-up than to skip the warm-up and dive right into the workout. Skipping your warm-up is the best way to get hurt." Parra, who took both the gold and silver medals during the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, UT, adds that, "You can complete a good warm-up in 15-20 minutes. And believe me, it will make your workout more pleasant and safe."

3. Stretch

Derek Parra and the ACA suggest that you stretch and then start with some light aerobic activity (jogging, biking, fast walking) for about 7-10 minutes. Then follow these tips specific to your preferred sport:

  • Skiing - do 10 to 15 squats. Stand with your legs shoulder width apart, knees aligned over your feet. Slowly lower your buttocks as you bend your knees over your feet. Stand up straight again.
  • Skating - do several lunges. Take a moderately advanced step with one foot. Let your back knee come down to the floor while keeping your shoulders in position over your hips. Repeat the process with your other foot.
  • Sledding - do knee-to-chest stretches to fight compression injuries caused by repetitive bouncing over the snow. While either sitting or lying on your back, pull your knees to your chest and hold for up to 30 seconds.

4. Cool Down

Don't forget cool-down stretching for all of these sports. At the bottom of the sledding hill, for instance, before trudging back up, do some more knees-to-chest stretches, or repetitive squatting movements to restore flexibility.

If you continue to feel soreness, pain or strain even after following these tips, it may be time for a sports chiropractic visit at Sioux Falls Chiropractic.

"I've always believed in chiropractic care," says Parra. "I've used a lot of other treatments for injuries and pain, but the problem doesn't get fixed until I go to a doctor of chiropractic."

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