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 Sports And Injuries

August 2012

Believe You Can Fly!

Prarthna Tiga
Skating is fun and beautiful. But did you know that it is a great cardiovascular workout too? So, what you waiting for? Put on those dusty skates and start shedding some kilos! Four to six years is considered to be just the right age for picking up this sport because the body is more agile, flexible and lightweight.
But leave it to skating enthusiasts and professionals like Arvind Gupta and they will convince you that a toddler as young as 15 months too can learn to balance on the wheels!

Skate On...
  • Skating is for anyone aged 15 months to 80 years and above.
  • It involves the synchronization of all body parts from head to toe.
  • A beginner’s session lasts for two hours and one month is enough to learn the basics.
  • Seek a doctor’s advice on how much skating is safe for you if you are aged 35 and above.
  • A medical check-up is absolutely mandatory, if you are aged above 60.
So, what is it that makes skating so very thrilling? Yes, the speed… Ice hockey is said to be the fastest game in the world! Canadian Ice Hockey veteran and defenseman Paul Coffey found a unique way to increase the speed of his skates; he wore skates three sizes smaller to make himself believe that the faster he finished the game, the faster he would get rid of his undersized skates.

Who Can Skate And For How Long?
Again, going with the perception and confidence of Mr. Gupta and his ilk, anyone from a child as young as 15 months to an adult aged 80 and above can skate. That should tell us a lot about the art of coaching and choosing the right coach for reaping the benefits of skating.

An ideal skating session begins with a warm-up that includes jogging and some light stretch exercises. Then skaters are instructed on ways to stand, bend the knees at 90°, slide and swing the arms to promote the push. Where the angle of the knees is concerned, they should stick out over the skates by two inches (The art is that the more you bend one knee, the more you will be able to push off with the other.). Also, the correct body stance for all skaters is to keep the back straight and head still. A session winds up with a cooling down and that again includes some stretches.

Typically, a beginner’s session lasts for two hours and one month is enough to learn the basics. A doctor’s opinion on how much skating is safe for you is advisable, if you are aged 35 and above. A medical check-up is absolutely mandatory before taking to skating if you are aged above 60.

The word of caution is only for people with conditions like osteoporosis, for the risk of suffering bone injuries, lower backache, dislocation and fractures is more in them, observes Dr Manish Anand of Apollo Clinic, Dehradun.

Whiz To Fitness!

Skating involves the synchronization of all body parts from head to toe. Regular practice can help tackle ailments like asthma and even body aches. It

  • Increases blood circulation.
  • Burns extra calories
  • Increases stamina.
  • Helps achieve concentration
  • Strengthens the heart
  • Strengthens the bones and physical structure

For children who are weak and are poor eaters, this could be a fun and an immensely strengthening activity. A well-laid skating rink, quality accessories and a coach are absolutely essential to becoming a skating champion. Selecting the right gear, coach and rink is therefore very intrinsic to finding success with skating.

Risk Of Injury
Dr Manish stresses the need to understand and recognise the susceptibility of the upper body while succumbing to injuries from skating. Shoulder dislocation and wrist injuries are some common upper extremity injuries; about 8-10 per cent of them account for head injuries too. Ankle fractures and knee injuries caused by ligament tear are some common lower extremity injuries.

Causes Of Injuries
  • Overuse of skates
  • Improper shoes and skates
  • Incorrect posture while skating (this can result in back pain and hip problems – stiffness of the back and stretching of ligaments that can cause chronic back pain)
  • Incorrect techniques and improper guidance
  • Poor nutrition and a weak body
  • Sometimes the sudden jumping by skaters can cause fracture or dislocation of the hip joints
Safety Tips
  • Your skates should fit your feet well
  • Wear the right safety gears – helmet, elbow, wrist and knee guard
  • Don’t be afraid to fall
  • Don’t look down
  • Get out of your comfort zone and enjoy it
  • First learn to do it right and then work on the speed
First-Aid Tips During Skating Accidents
  • Always immobilize the injured body part with the help of a board and bandage
  • Do not put any weight on the injured area
  • Apply an ice pack if it is not an open injury
  • Cover open injuries with clean cloth, cotton or bandage
First aid is usually followed by a thorough clinical examination and X-ray of the injured part, to determine the kind and extent of the injury.