Everybody (well, almost everybody) looks forward to summer. The weather is finally warm, the days are long, and the outdoors are ripe for enjoyment. Sports, hiking, beaches and more are all suddenly present in our daily lives again.
However, for all its great benefits, summer recreation can also bring injuries and urgent care center visits. Many people jump back into sports and exercise after a long period of inactivity, which can lead to more injuries and urgent care visits during the summer. Strains, sprains, twists, pulls and tears are among the most common injuries that occur in sports and other similar activities.
So how can you avoid summer recreation injuries? Here are seven tips.
1. Warm up properly
If you simply start exercising or playing a sport without stretching and warming up—especially if you haven’t been active in a while—you could sustain an injury.
Warming up doesn’t have to be a long, drawn out affair. Before you start your round of golf, swing the club a few times. Shoot some baskets and stretch before you start the basketball game. Taking a few minutes to get loose, whatever your chosen activity, will loosen up your tendons and muscles.
2. Stay hydrated
Hydration keeps your muscles working more efficiently; if your muscles are dehydrated, you can get cramps or pulled muscles. For activities that last longer than 45 minutes or an hour, consider supplementing water with a healthy, sugar free sports drink.
3. Get proper equipment
One of the best ways to avoid an injury is by wearing proper shoes. Try to wear shoes that are designed for the activity or sport you are doing. Jogging in shoes meant for tennis or basketball, for example, can lead to injuries and chronic pain.
Also make sure you have shoes that have good arch support and support your heels firmly. This is especially important if you have flat feet or you pronate when you walk.
4. Pay attention to how you run and hold equipment
Where you run and how you run has an impact on your body and your likelihood of getting injured. Don’t always run on the same surface; try to run on tracks and trails in addition to sidewalks. This will keep your muscles more balanced and toned throughout.
On a similar note, golf and tennis players should be mindful about how they feel after changing grips. If you develop pain shortly after, it may be related to the new grip.
5. Prepare your muscles
Try to build the target muscles for the sport or activity you plan to do. For example, for biking, there are certain types of squats that can help prepare the muscles you’ll use in your lower body.
6. Beware of heat exposure
On hot days, check yourself, your friends, and your teammates for signs of heat stress. Look for bright red skin, cold or clammy skin, and a lack of sweating. To protect yourself, wear light clothes and hats that wick sweat away from skin.
7. Cool down properly
It’s great if you remember to warm up before exercise, but it’s also necessary to cool down afterwards. Cooling down and stretching after a period of physical activity can help prevent injuries, especially after consecutive days of intense activity.
Keep summer injuries at bay!
Don’t let an injury interfere with your summer fun. Make sure you properly warm up and cool down, prepare your muscles before restarting an activity or taking up a new activity, stay hydrated, use proper equipment, and take precautions to avoid heat exposure. Being cautious and attentive to your body will minimize your chances of sustaining an injury. Now get out there and have fun!