Summertime is a great time to exercise, but just like in any season, that exercise can cause some common injuries if you aren’t careful. Check out these tips on how to avoid them!
Summer’s in full swing, which means you can finally get out of the house and participate in your favorite summer sporting activity. Whether on the basketball court, baseball field, or running path, the warmer temperatures provide the perfect opportunity to improve your fitness and up your game. Yet after hibernating during the winter months, your body may not be ready to dive headlong into those fun activities — and that can lead to common summer sports injuries.
Your joints, especially your ankles, knees, and shoulders, tend to bear the brunt of summertime sports injuries. That’s because the muscles, ligaments, and tendons holding the joints together regularly suffer sprains and strains, as well as tears and even stress fractures. Plus there’s always the potential to fall and break a bone. Fortunately, you can avoid serious injury and enjoy your warm weather pursuits by taking some precautions.
Six ways to prevent common summer sports injuries
Injuries don’t have to happen. Before starting your summertime exercise routine, follow these six simple tips to keep your body in shape and on the playing field.
Pace yourself. Tempting as it might be to start fast, you’re better off taking it slow and pacing yourself as you get back into the swing of your summer sports. After a long winter, you’ll need time to acclimate your body to a new, more vigorous workout, and that won’t happen overnight.
Warm up and cool down. Speaking of taking it slow, remember to warm up before rushing into any physical activity in earnest. Before the workout, do dynamic stretches, such as arm circles, knee lifts, and lunges, to prepare your muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Afterwards, try static stretches to cool down your body and boost flexibility. Gently stretch a muscle as much as you can without pain and hold for 30 to 60 seconds.
Get the right equipment. Whether it’s proper fitting shoes, protective headgear, or knee braces, the right equipment makes all the difference in preventing injuries. Don’t know what to buy? Speak to a trainer or physical therapist about which equipment to invest in.
Stay hydrated. Hotter temperatures zap your body of fluids, so be sure to stay hydrated while you exercise. Dehydration can cause muscle cramps, which can lead to injury. To get an idea of how much water you should drink, look over these recommended requirements for runners.
Rest. Dedicated athletes want to push through pain and fatigue. But doing so only sets you up for an injury. If you feel tired, stop and rest for a few days. Or create a schedule where you set aside days where you don’t work out from the start. In the long run, resting will keep your body healthier.
Participate in more than one sport. Cross-training is a great way to use all muscle groups and prevent injury. Runners can take time out to swim. Or if you lift weights, try some aerobic exercises such as jogging or biking.
Treating a summer sports injury
Despite your best efforts, you’re going to feel occasional aches and pains. If you do, take a break and try the RICE method — Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation — to reduce the pain. Over-the-counter pain medications can also help you feel more comfortable.
If the pain persists following the RICE regimen, you have trouble walking, or you heard a popping noise at the time of the trauma, you may have a serious orthopedic injury that needs to be treated by an orthopedist. Schedule an appointment right away and know that, with treatment and physical therapy, you’ll be back to your sport in no time.
Stay active and healthy year round with help from NYBJ
Whatever the season or sport, the doctors and staff at New York Bone & Joint Specialists are here to ensure you can feel your best while staying fit and healthy. We’re experts with years of experience in diagnosing and treating orthopedic conditions of all kinds. If you think you might have an orthopedic injury in need of treatment, contact us today for a consultation.