It's summertime! The birds are singing each morning, the sun is out, the temperatures are up, and we are all ready to get out and enjoy some summer fun! However, with the increase in activity that comes for many in the summer, comes an increased risk of injury. Here at High Desert Physical Therapy, we are all about preventing and avoiding injuries and taking care of our bodies! So here are a few tips to help you enjoy your summer, while still keeping your bodies safe and healthy!
1. Slowly progress your activity level.
It is very tempting to go out and want to be as active as you were on the last day of summer last year as soon as the weather is nice! However, if your level of activity was lower during fall, winter, and spring, then rushing right back into high levels of activity can increase your risk of injury. Let your body progress through slow increases of activity, giving it time to build up activity and loading tolerance throughout the season.
2. Switch up your activities.
It is always good to try fitting in different types of activities all throughout your week, rather than doing the same activity each day. This can help you to avoid developing overuse syndromes. Try taking a walk one day, riding your bike the next, performing a resistance training workout one day, and hiking another, for example. This will help to ensure you are maintaining and building all of your muscles and not overusing a select few.
3. Wear sunscreen!
We are here to look out for your health as a whole, not just your musculoskeletal system. Your skin is the largest organ in your body. It is what protects everything else inside of your body! So make sure to look out for your skin and overall health by wearing sunscreen, hats, and appropriate clothing to avoid sunburns.
4. Wear sunglasses.
Another often overlooked body part that can get hurt during the summer, is our eyes! The eye is one part of our body that can have a difficult time healing if it is injured. Many do not realize that our eyes can actually get sunburned as well! When this happens, the cornea gets inflamed and irritated. Too much sun exposure can also cause things like cataracts, macular degeneration, and even eyelid cancer! So put on those sunglasses and protect your eyes!
5. Drink enough water to stay hydrated.
As things heat up, we will sweat more, especially when we are being active outside. It is important to keep your body well-hydrated by drinking enough water. This helps to protect your muscles, joints, heart, skin, brain, and many other functions and tissues in the body.
6. Don't forget to take rest days!
It is tempting to spend everyday out in the wonderful weather being active! And don't get me wrong, I encourage staying active! However, there are also times where you need to listen to your body and take a rest day to avoid overdoing it. There are still ways to take "active rest" to allow your body to recover. Try doing some yoga or stretching, or going for a nice and easy walk around the neighborhood. These activities can help to loosen up your sore muscles, while allowing them to recover from days of higher activity levels.
I hope that these tips help you to stay active and fit over the summer, while avoiding injuries and other easily avoidable health issues.
Enjoy your summer!
Kimberly Taylor PT, DPT