Monthly Archives: June 2013

Summer Safety: How to Enjoy the Warm Weather Without the Risk of Injury

ImageWith temperatures picking up, many Georgians are continuing their commitments to stay physically fit.

Activity time generally peaks in the summer and whether young, old or somewhere in between, it seems everyone is flocking outdoors to enjoy the warm weather – and make strides in their health.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends adults participate in 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity physical activity or 75 minutes a week of intense activity. The recommendation is even higher for children: 60 minutes or more of physical activity every day.

But with increased physical activity comes some level of risk.

While regular exercise can help produce long-term health benefits, it is important that all activities are done safely and in a manner that prevents injury while improving physical performance.

In early summer, people look to jump right back into an exercise routine after taking time off during the colder months. But the lack of conditioning and gradual body build-up can lead to serious injuries including, stress fractures, muscle tears and knee problems.

Injury recovery can range from a couple of days to over a year depending on the severity and treatment.

The following tips can help you decrease – or prevent altogether – your chances of injury as summer activities kick-in:

Backpacking

  • Pay attention to the way the backpack is positioned – it should rest evenly in the middle of the back.
  • Straps should not be too loose, and the backpack should not extend below the lower back.
  • Keep the load at 10 percent to 15 percent or less of your body weight. Try carrying only items that are needed for the day.
  • Organize the contents of the backpack by placing the heaviest items closest to the back.

Fishing

  • Stretch, stretch and stretch. By stretching your forearm muscles and tendons beforehand, you can prevent tears that cause pain.
  • Core body strengthening can help manage long-term back pain that comes from extended periods of sitting or standing.
  • Take breaks – give your body a rest by taking a short walk in between long fishing sessions.
  • Try using multiple casting styles. Overhead casting is associated with minimal wrist and elbow pain.  If possible avoid frequent sidearm or elliptical casting.

Gardening

  • Warm-up before you begin – even do a few stretches to loosen up.
  • Don’t overdo it. Be mindful of your body – if you feel any aches and pains, slow down and switch to a different task.
  • Use a garden cart or wheelbarrow to move tools and heavy planting materials.
  • Change positions frequently to avoid stiffness or cramping.
  • End your gardening session with a short walk or some light stretching. A warm bath helps prevent soreness.

Running

  • Be sure to stretch or warm up before any rigorous workout
  • Alternate your workouts, beginner runners should replace daily runs with other activities to build endurance and strength
  • Strength in your core, flexibility and coordination can help improve training and help avoid long-term injury
  • Choose your running surface carefully. Hard surfaces, uneven terrain, and too many hills can lead to problems; build them up slowly if these are part of your running goal.

For injury prevention tips, sample exercises and additional resources from American Physical Therapy Association and the Physical Therapy Association of Georgia visit www.moveforwardpt.com or www.ptagonline.org.

 

Advertisements