Stay safe this season |

Stay safe this season

Kimberly Nicoletti

You’ve spent a lot of money on your vacation, and you want to get your money’s worth. But at what cost?

Pushing beyond your energy level or athletic ability can cost a lot more than you bargained for. So it’s important to take it easy, rather than see how many turns you can pack in from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Tom Schnitzius, an ultra-marathon runner, said many people approach their vacations the same way they approach work and daily life: with agendas, goals and a need to accomplish something.

“If you use money or your strategy (of doing and completing) as a driving force, you’re going to get injured, or at least sore,” Schnitzius said.

Many people who don’t live in the mountains aren’t physically prepared for strenuous skiing or riding, he said. When one muscle group, such as the quads, gets overworked, smaller muscles have to compensate. Since smaller muscles aren’t used to the load, they may tear or get strained and cause injuries to ligaments and other body parts.

If you haven’t been exercising, take it easy. Drink plenty of water, and rest when you’re tired. Tuning, checking equipment for the proper fit and staying aware of snow conditions (slowing down when it’s icy, avoiding deep powder if you don’t know how to ski it) helps ensure your safety.

– Blend different elements of exercise into your daily routine, with at least an hour a day of stretching, balance and coordination activities, core strengthening, cardiovascular conditioning and strength training, said Della Crone, a physical therapist at Avalanche Physical Therapy.

– Stretch before and after skiing or riding, otherwise, you’ll end up with strong and tight muscles instead of strong, long and healthy muscles, said Jane Matthews, an acupuncturist at Sacred Tree in Breckenridge. Muscles build up lactic acid after activity; stretching encourages circulation.

– Balance and coordination activities help prevent falls. Try yoga poses, or simply balance on one foot while moving the other in a circle.

In case you do need medical attention, you’ll be well taken care of in Summit. St. Anthony Summit Medical Center opened in December, 2005, and it looks more like a mountain retreat than a medical facility. Its two-story stone fireplace, cozy furniture and wood accents help family and friends find more comfort while their loved one is admitted. The rooms offer spectacular, healing views of the mountains, but the real gem is the staff. They may work at a big hospital, but they still treat each patient like they’re in a small town. The $40 million facility is located at 340 Peak One Drive, just above the County Commons buildings near Frisco.

Hospital contact: (970) 668-3300 –

Ask-a-nurse: (970) 668-5222

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