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Winter Sports

Tune Your Body for Winter Sports

Winter is upon us in Tahoe, and while weather outside may look frightful, it makes the mountains so delightful! With resorts open and the snowpack building in the backcountry, excitement continues to grow among winter enthusiasts. And much like you tune your boards/skis and change the batteries of your avalanche beacon, it’s key to also pay attention to your most important piece of equipment… YOU! 

A few tips to keep you going all season and beyond: 

Conditioning. Between COVID and fires and evacuations (oh my!), many of us struggled to maintain our cardio base. For most winter sports, you’ll burn 400-600 calories/ hour while adding stress on your body with our dry conditions at altitude; be sure to get a sweat going and your heart rate elevated for an hour at least 2-3 times a week.

Core strength and stability. Most winter sports require high levels of core strength, including the back, abdomen, quadriceps, hamstrings, and gluteal muscles. Different sports create different demands on our bodies, often the best bet is to see a personal trainer, like a performance coach, or a physical therapist who can create an individualized strength plan for you.
Check out these exercises recommended by Barton Health physical therapists, Alan Barichievich and Caroline Barichievich at BartonHealth.org/SkiSBConditioning. Make this a normal routine twice a week. 

Warm-up before you head out. Spend 10-20 minutes doing light upper and lower body movements to loosen up and get the blood flowing. As a bonus, toss 20-30 minutes of yoga into your life once or twice a week.

Hydrate and eat. In cold weather you can’t rely on feeling thirsty as a reminder. Drink a bottle of water an hour, at minimum, with half of that being electrolytes. Also pack slow-burning foods like trail mix and protein bars to keep you going all day. 

Check your head. Be real with your ability level. Test out that nagging injury or your level of endurance with a short, chill day before going on the epic, eight-hour trek into the backcountry.  

With all the chaos going on in our lives and the world around us, we’re all feeling ready to create rad stories with our people. A little work and a little smarts can make that happen safely—put the work in and then go get it! Happy adventuring!

Dr. Katie Gollotto is a board-certified sports and physical medicine specialist offering non-surgical orthopedics and sports medicine solutions to the active Lake Tahoe community. Dr. Katie sees patients at Stateline Medical Center and will host a free Wellness Webinar on Thursday, January 13 at 5pm (register in advance at BartonHealth.org/Lecture). To learn more about Barton’s Sports and Physical Medicine services, call 775.589.8915 or visit BartonHealth.org/PhysicalMedicine.