Staying active is vital to keeping seniors happy and healthy as they get older. In the winter months, it’s hard to find activities that they are comfortable with. So, you might be wondering, can seniors learn to ski?
Seniors can learn to ski. In fact, any winter sport should be safe for seniors to try as long as they don’t have any illnesses or disabilities that prevent them from performing the activity safely. Always discuss new physical activities with your doctor before starting anything new.
Let’s go over the health and safety facts seniors should know before they learn how to ski.
The first thing you’ll want to consider when learning any new sport is the health facts and tips that go along with it. There are plenty of benefits to skiing, especially as a senior.
Strengthens Muscles and Joints
Heading down the slopes will require the use of all the muscles in your body. You’ll find yourself waking up the next day sore all over if you didn’t stretch before participating. You can easily avoid that by working out throughout the year.
You can also avoid hurting yourself by keeping yourself fit all year. Don’t prepare for a ski trip the week of the trip. Make sure you set time aside throughout the year to strengthen those muscles and joints. Keeping yourself fit will also help prevent you from getting tired on the slope.
You’ll Gain Better Balance
To ski well, you need to have great coordination and balance. Without it, you’ll spend more of your time sitting in the snow than skiing on top of it. This balance keeps your core engaged, which will keep you upright and move down the mountain.
As you gain more experience in skiing, your balance will continue to improve. This is vital since balance is something that typically fades as we age.
Aids in Weight Loss
Skiing is a major workout for your entire body. Weight loss is to be expected when participating in winter sports. After a full day of skiing, it’s possible to lose up to 3,000 calories. This is important since weight control can be a struggle for senior citizens. Maintaining a healthy weight will benefit people of all ages, and skiing can be a fun way to do that.
Improves Your Heart’s Endurance
There is a lot of endurance that is needed to take part in skiing—not just endurance in your legs and lungs but also your heart. Skiing helps keep your heart rate up, even when you’re on the lift. What’s more, this is great for helping to lower blood pressure as well.
Besides knowing the health facts involved with skiing, it’s important to be aware of the safety measures you should take when skiing. No matter what your level of skiing experience is, you should always take these safety facts and tips seriously.
Consulting Your Doctor Is Necessary
As we age, there are things in our body that deteriorate that we actually need for skiing. It’s important to always talk to your doctor before starting a new sport. Going in for a physical check-up once a year before the season starts will put your mind at ease.
You should ask your doctor if you are fit enough to take a trip down the slopes. They will be able to give you clear guidance on what your limitations are, if you have any. Always listen to what your doctor has to say.
Beginners Should Find an Instructor
If it’s your first time skiing, you should get an instructor. They will teach you the proper techniques for the sport and how you can keep yourself safe on the mountain.
Instructors will also teach you the proper way to fall down. Yes, you need to know how to fall down. Knowing the correct way to fall will prevent injuries and other accidents that could happen on the mountain.
It Is Important to Choose the Proper Gear
One of the most important things you want to consider when skiing is the gear. You don’t want to rent or buy cheap gear. Bad or cheap gear is more likely to lead to accidents and injuries.
Always wear a helmet. A common injury in skiing involves the wrists. This is because when we fall down, one of the first instincts we have is to stop the fall with our hands. Landing on your hands causes a great deal of strain, which can cause all kinds of damage to the tendons and bones in your wrists. Having a nice pair of wrist guards can be helpful.
Also, wearing a pair of knee pads can prevent injury to your knees from falls. Some skiers find that when they go into a fall, the easiest way to do it is on their knees. This makes knee guards an appealing option.
You Should Start Small if You’re New to Skiing
Don’t try to conquer the mountain right off the lift. If you’re a beginner skier, start small. Don’t take any of the paths that are marked as highly advanced. Stay away from paths that are too steep or have too many obstacles.
For seniors, it’s important to remember that your muscles are likely to tire faster. Make sure you stick to trails that you know you can complete without extreme fatigue.
Additional Tips When Skiing
There is a lot to keep in mind when you’re learning how to ski. It can be a dangerous sport without proper guidance and preparation. In addition to the health and safety facts listed above, below, you’ll find another list of things to keep in mind before you hit the slopes.
Keep an Eye on the Weather
Weather will have a huge impact on how well your ski trip turns out. Bad weather can turn the snow from good to bad in just a matter of minutes. You’ll want to be prepared for anything when you head out onto the mountain.
If it looks like rain or sleet, it’s best to stay off the slope that day. Rain and sleet can turn the path into either a slushy mess or a dangerously sleek slide.
Bring a Buddy
Never go skiing alone. Always go down the mountain with a friend and make sure they know the path if you get separated. Decide on a meetup location in case anything happens. This way, help can be notified as soon as possible if one of you doesn’t make it to the meetup site.
Know Your Capabilities
Be honest with yourself about what you can handle and what you struggle with. Don’t try to attempt harder paths if you know you’re going to tire out. Also, don’t push yourself to go longer if you know you’re too tired.
You don’t want to be at the top of the mountain and realize you don’t have the strength to get back to the bottom. This is another reason why it’s always good to ski with a partner. An instructor can tell you what they believe you can handle, but it’s only you who will know what your body is feeling. If it’s too much, stop while you’re ahead.
Staying active as a senior is important for a longer, healthier, and happier life. However, staying active during the winter months can be hard, but it doesn’t have to be. Hopefully, this article has given you the health and safety facts you need to begin learning how to ski as a senior.
- Washington Post: Are baby boomers too old to ski? Probably not.
- National Library of Medicine: Potential Health Benefits From Downhill Skiing
- National Ski Areas Association: SAFETY FACTS & TIPS
- NSC: When it Comes to Skiing, Don’t Take a Crash Course
- Fit After Fifty: SKIING FOR OLDER ADULTS
- Daily Mail: Why skiing is good for you
- Grays on Trays: Is snowboarding safe for older adults?
- Liftopia: How Old Is “Too Old” To Start Skiing Or Snowboarding?
- The Points Guy: Skiing at 70 — Ski Tips for Seniors
- Lids on Kids: SNOWSPORT HELMETS ARE A GOOD IDEA:
- Better Health: Snow sports – safety issues
- Symphony Senior Living: 7 Winter Health and Safety Tips for Seniors
- The Inn at Belden Village: 5 Winter Health & Safety Tips for Seniors