Winter Sports: 5 Valuable Safety Tips.

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It may be sunny and bright in the Southern Hemisphere, but in the Northern Hemisphere many of you are enjoying the most glorious snow-filled winter, which means bundling up and taking to the cool air for some of your favourite winter sports. Skiing, snowboarding, ice hockey and skating, and sledding are all up there to keep us happy and occupied during this magical chilly white season.

But many winter sports carry risk and its important to keep safety first, be you a holidaymaker or resident taking advantage of the time of year. Some of the more common injuries include fractures, hypothermia, sprains, concussion, and dislocations. However, the severity of these injuries varies depending on the type of sport. For example, Bobsledding may cause trauma, long bone fracture, and even sometimes, fatalities. Ski sledding injuries often involve head injuries. Those who do ice skating and snowboarding are at risk of fracturing their wrists while those who ski are at risk of tearing their anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).

All these injuries would not only put an unexpected end to your fun time, but it will also often lead to extra medical bills and loss of sporting gears. Now, you also have to know that regardless of how many precautions are taken, sometimes accidents do happen and there’s little or nothing we can do to prevent them. In these instances, it pays to have something to fall back on. Also, getting new gear can be expensive, which is why winter sports insurance – long or short term, will have you covered.

What your winter sports insurance covers is more comprehensive than ordinary travel insurance. Apart from medical costs, it can also cover loss of ski pass, loss, theft, or damage of your gear, personal liability in the event that a third party is injured in your accident, avalanche delay, and other such incidences. Winter Sports Cover from AA Insurance is one of the more comprehensive that covers most incidences and is my recommendation.

Seeing as your premium is bound to increase every time you have an incident, it pays to do all you can to prevent it from happening. That’s why these safety tips may prove useful, as avoidance is key.

Stay In Shape

By making sure you are in shape before diving headfirst into any of the winter sport, you reduce your chances of making a mistake which can end up being quite fatal. Bear in mind that professional athletes that take part in winter games go to great lengths to make sure that their core is strengthened and that they have a high endurance rate before even taking to the snow. Apart from these, regular training, proper nutrition and lots of sleep all making for better days on the slopes – one of the healthiest, happiest ways to pass the time.

Read my blog post – The world’s most spectacular ski resorts. 

Always Wear A Helmet

Studies have shown that one of the major causes of fatalities and physical or mental impairment in winter sport is brain injury. Many of the winter sports, like skiing, are done at blistering speeds and can prove to be quite dangerous. By not wearing a helmet, the head is left vulnerable to a number of injuries which could prove dangerous. Don’t take the risk, it isn’t worth it.

Make Sure You Stay Hydrated

Although you might wonder why this is necessary as it is not summer where the great heat can easily lead to dehydration, the extreme cold of winter affects the body in a similar way. Drawing in that cold air into your body at great speed can definitely lead to dehydration, which also can lead to fatigue and loss of consciousness. For this reason, it always pays to go along with your water bottle so you can take a drink from it regularly as part of looking after yourself.

Learn To Fall Like A Pro

No matter the sport you are engaging in, it is imperative that you learn how to take a fall. Falling wrongly or trying to prevent yourself from falling on ice can actually end up giving you worse injuries than you would have had if you just took the fall. Falling on ice is normal and everyone, regardless of whether they are a pro or a newbie, will take a tumble at one point or another. Falling doesn’t indicate your level of abilities and learning to fall in the right manner will go a long way in helping avoid injuries.

Rules are Rules for a Reason

Never disregard the rules. They are put in place to ensure everybody’s safety, therefore simply put, follow them. You are bound to cause an accident if you decide to stop at a point where it will be difficult for you to be seen by anybody coming through at great speed and is likely to cause a collision. Also, using the right gear for a sport is important for keeping you and others safe. Same as staying off a trail that is closed – there’ll be a reason that it’s out of bounds.

Having gone through these, you’ll realise how easy it is to stay safe if everybody just follows the rules, thinks ahead and avoid behaviour that is likely to cause an accident and injury. Mostly though, never forget to have travel insurance to cover the unpredictable. Peace of mind is everything while out playing on those slopes.

Me on the scenic slopes of Mt Titlis in beautiful Switzerland.

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