A new study from the University of California at Santa Cruz shows that a combination of ski resorts that offer a variety of skiing activities, including mountain biking, snowshoeing and snowmobiling, can reduce the incidence of injuries in the elderly.
Researchers found that in the year following the implementation of the California Ski and Snow Safety Program, the number of injuries experienced by the elderly decreased by an average of 6% and the number and severity of injuries among the severely disabled decreased by about 11%.
The study was released Monday and is available online at www.californiaresearch.org.
The study is based on a survey of more than 1,200 elderly individuals from the Santa Clara County Hospital, California Department of Public Health and the Santa Cruz County Public Health Department.
Researchers also found that the number who had an accident while skiing increased by 2.6% and were injured by snow by 3.6%.
The researchers said that the results show that while ski season is the most popular winter vacation activity in the state, there are several other types of activities that are associated with skiing that may be contributing to the decrease in accidents.
For instance, people who ski in the winter can often avoid the sun, are less likely to wear protective clothing, have better air conditioning and can be more comfortable in their own homes, said Dr. Matthew Whelan, lead author of the study.
The study, “Skis and snow: A comparison of safety and health benefits for older and disabled people in the ski industry,” was published in the journal Safety and Health of Older Adults.
The researchers analyzed the results of a statewide survey of 1,201 adults from June 2014 to June 2016 who were not taking medications or using an oxygen mask.
Researchers interviewed the participants in person and in person-to-person.
Researchers identified 14 sites where people in their late 60s or older were participating in a variety (5 to 15) of activities and activities with an average duration of 5 to 10 minutes.
They were not involved in skiing, snowmobilling, snowmobile racing, snowboarding or snowshoing, skiing on snow or snowmobile trails, skiing in snow, skiing with children or in a vehicle, skiing without a helmet, or skiing in a snowmobile park.
The participants who were participating at the sites were asked to report how many of the activities they had participated in and how many injuries they had experienced.
The data included:A) the number, type and severity (injuries per 100 participants) of injuries sustained, and B) the average number of days that participants reported experiencing an injury or were injured.
The average number was divided into 5-minute segments (e.g., 5 minutes of skiing, 10 minutes of snowmobiding, 20 minutes of mountain biking).
The researchers did not identify any other types or levels of injuries.