Snow has finally fallen! It is important to remember a few essentials to both skiing and snowboarding when it comes to your health and performance.
The spine and muscles surrounding the spine are crucial elements when on the hill. Muscles such as the psoas, gluts, Quadratus Lumborum and quads must be functional and firing properly to maintain coordination and reduce the possibility of injury to the body.
Injuries typically occur when this ability is lost due to fatigue, the possibility of trauma, or repetitive micro-trauma. To avoid injury and be able to enjoy your time on the mountain, it is imperative to ensure your body is as coordinated and efficient as possible.
Muscle coordination is contributed to a variety of biomechanical issues, yet neural input from the brain is one of the most important. Muscles and tissues of the body are able to perform their function because of this neural input from the brain, through neural pathways in our central nervous system to our peripheral nervous system.
Certain areas of the brain will coordinate movements and allow muscles and joints to function correctly. This is known as the brain-body connection, and why the spine is so important to our overall function. It is the spine that surrounds our central nervous system and gives access to the peripheral nervous system which in turn controls muscles, organ systems and other body mechanisms.
If this function doesn’t work properly, then muscle firing patterns can be influenced and your body can be set up for possible injuries during athletic activities. It is important to note that each side of the brain will contribute to different sides of the body.
The left hemisphere of the brain will control all of the movement done by the right side of the body, and vice versa. This is why it is important to train both sides of your body equally, to ensure activity in both brain hemispheres.
While neural input from the brain is imperative, overall soft tissue (muscle) quality is very important as well. Muscles, when put through repeated motions for long periods will fatigue and can lead to possible strains and microscopic scar tissue formation.
Treatments at home, such as stretching and 20 minutes of ice/heat following a long day can lead to less soreness in the days to follow.
Typically, ice is appropriate for recent or acute injuries, whereas heat is used for chronic aches or to increase blood flow to warm up. Other treatments including chiropractic adjustments, massage, active release, Graston and physiotherapy modalities used in our office can help with the aching muscle/joint pains that just seem to linger around.
For questions on how you can perform to the best of your ability skiing or snowboarding, stop by our office in Aspen, Basalt, or Glenwood Springs. This health tip has been brought to you by Dr. Brody Peterson of the Win Health Institute, wishing everyone a safe and happy holiday season.