Ask the MSK Expert: How to Stay Healthy on the Slopes


Winter is upon us, and that means it's time to hit the slopes. Dr. Josh Szabo, Tri Rivers orthopedic sports medicine specialist and U.S. Ski & Snowboard physician, shares his tips on preparing for winter sports.

Dr. Szabo says: “To best prepare for ski and snowboard season, your workout program should include variety to ensure stimulation and maximum development of the desired muscles. Variety also helps you avoid burnout and the plateau-effect most people experience. Perform exercises that most mimic skiing movements; slide boards and unstable surfaces like a Bosu ball are helpful.

“Prepare your body for downhill skiing by training the gluteus maximus, a muscle largely used while participating in the sport. Perform squats and lunges, especially single-leg variations that also work leg stabilizers, as they are vital to skiing. Be sure to always use proper form and consider emphasizing isometric and eccentric movements.

“Preventing muscle soreness after a long day of skiing or snowboarding begins prior to hitting the slopes. Start with a good warmup, stay hydrated and end with a cool down and stretching. Low-level aerobic exercises such as walking, and even an ice bath, can limit muscle soreness.  Post-workout recovery drinks can also help. Chocolate milk has the ideal composition for recovery since it replenishes depleted glycogen and amino acids.

“Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water and avoid heavily caffeinated drinks, especially if you are in the cold and at elevation. Remember, if you feel thirsty, you are dehydrated.”

Physician Spotlight
S. Joshua Szabo, M.D., is a fellowship-trained sports medicine and shoulder/elbow surgeon at Tri Rivers and serves as a U.S. Ski & Snowboard physician. He performs arthroscopic rotator cuff repair and stabilization; shoulder replacement surgery, including reverse shoulder replacement; arthroscopic knee surgery, meniscal surgery and ACL reconstruction; tennis elbow surgery; and PRP therapy. He treats bursitis, shoulder impingement and elbow problems, including nerve disorders, tendon disorders/tears, fractures and instability.

Dr. Szabo sees patients in our Butler-Clearview and Cranberry/Mars offices and at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex. To schedule an appointment with him, or any other Tri Rivers provider, please call 1-866-874-7483 or click here.