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How to Prevent Summer Sports Injuries

summer sports injuries
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New Yorkers often take advantage of the warmer months to step up their exercise routines. Here’s how athletes can stay in top shape this summer.

Now that summer is here, New Yorkers can enjoy outdoor sports and activities like softball, tennis, swimming, and biking. Even year-round athletes often amp up their workouts and head outside when temperatures rise. 

However, suddenly accelerating your activity level without taking the proper precautions could lead to a serious orthopedic injury. Sprains, strains, and tears of the ligaments in the knee, ankle, or shoulder may occur when your body isn’t prepared for a strenuous workout. 

Runners who normally race along an indoor track may switch to a harder surface in the summer. Or, a person who jogs only sporadically may decide to suddenly increase their distance during the summer months. In both instances, the possibility of an overuse injury such as a stress fracture rises. Incidences of tennis elbow, shin splints, Achilles tendonitis, and Achilles tendon rupture also surge during the summer. Then there is always the chance of taking a spill while biking and breaking a bone. 

However, by following some simple guidelines, you can enjoy summertime sports while avoiding common injuries.

HOW TO STAY SAFE THIS SUMMER

Before you accelerate your exercise routine when the weather heats up, safeguard your bones and muscles with these five tips.

1. Start Slow

After months of inactivity, your body needs to build up to a more intense workout. If you run, gradually increase the distance. When you feel stronger, you can add more miles to your daily jog. A good rule of thumb is to start off by doing 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise three days a week, then pushing that routine up to four or five days a week for 45 minutes each session.

2. Warm Up Properly

This is an important practice anytime of the year, but especially when ramping up your exercise program. Stretching beforehand prepares the muscles and tendons for a vigorous workout. According to one study, stretching 15 minutes before the actual exercise provides the most benefits.

Stretching isn’t the only warm-up activity you should do prior to a workout. To get the blood flowing, focus on strengthening your core and doing some weight training. Good exercises include hip bridges, planks, side lunges, push-ups, and squats.

3. Drink Lots of Water

Exercising in the heat means you need to replace the water you lose when you sweat. Always have a water bottle handy to keep your body hydrated. Another benefit of drinking lots of water is that it can help prevent muscle cramps. The recommended amount to counter cramping is 15.5 cups of water for men and 11.5 for women. 

4. Eat a Healthy Diet

To fuel your body for demanding exercise, you need to eat right. Avoid consuming supplement pills and powders, and instead get your energy from whole foods that are high in protein, such as chicken, eggs, tuna, and salmon. Other good choices include whole grains, fruits, and vegetables that provide complex carbohydrates. To obtain a proper amount of fat, try avocados, nuts, and extra virgin olive oil. Lastly, to get enough fiber in your diet, eat prunes, oatmeal, brown rice, beans, and legumes.

5. Know When to Stop

As with any exercise routine, pushing yourself when you’re excessively tired or in pain only ups the chances of a traumatic injury. Fatigue and discomfort signal your body needs to rest and recuperate. Either slow down or stop exercising to give yourself time to recover. 

TREATING SPORTS INJURIES

Even when you take measures to prevent them, injuries may sometimes occur. If you’re suffering from a sports injury, the doctors at New York Bone & Joint Specialists can help diagnose your condition and create a customized treatment plan to get you back to your active lifestyle. Call to set up an appointment today.

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