Injuries suck. As a friend once said, “Injuries are a negative 5 on the fun meter.”
Here are some important steps to prevent injury:
1) Push yourself but don’t take it too far
You need to step outside your comfort zone if you want to improve your riding or learn new tricks. However, that doesn’t mean that you should go from green runs to double black diamond chutes and cliff drops.
The pros that you see riding steep powder lines and hitting 50 foot park jumps didn’t get there overnight. It’s all about managing your risk and progressing step by step. Even the best riders manage their risk. There’s no point in pushing yourself too hard and progressing fast if you end up breaking a leg and missing out on half the snow season.
2) Go to the gym, Family Guy can wait
Many studies on fitness and injuries have shown that your physical fitness has a direct effect on your chances of injury. If you get tired easier and your muscles aren’t as strong, you’re body is going to give way to injury much easier than someone who keeps themselves in decent shape.
Don’t worry, that Family Guy episode you missed is available on the interwebs… not that I support that sort of thing…
3) Listen to your head
Sometimes you just know when something isn’t quite right. Whether you’re tired or you’re just not feeling right or for whatever reason your head is telling you to stop, you need to stop and listen to your head.
I know first hand what happens when you don’t listen. In fact, that gnarly photo you see on the right is the result of what happened shortly after I was quoted as saying “I don’t think my body can take another crash today.” I should’ve listened.
4) Be mentally prepared
In a previous article, I said that snowboarding (or skiing) is 90% mental. Snowboarding is a physical sport but taking the time to properly think through, picture and execute with confidence will increase your success as well as lower your chances of injury.
Sometimes you’ll see advanced skiers/snowboarders stand at the top of a jump or a run and just wait a little before they drop in. Part of it may be that they’re scared but a lot of the time they are busy picturing exactly what they are going to do and how they will execute it.
Being mentally prepared is just as important, if not more important than being physically prepared.
Sleep! It’s a lot more important than you may think. Being sleep deprived not only makes you tired, grumpy and irritable, but it also slows down your entire body.
Your brain thinks slower, your body moves slower and your muscles are weaker. Do you really want to be dropping into a black run or hitting a park jump under those conditions?
Got your own injury prevention tips? I’d love to hear them! … unless they involve drinking any sort of stupid health drink that includes crushed grass.