Now that the warm weather has finally arrived, we all want to get out there and enjoy it as much as possible. This means pulling out the golf clubs, wiping the dust off the bicycle or trying out those new gardening tools. However, if we don’t prepare our bodies for activity during these few months, we may end up spending the summer indoors (or, at a physiotherapy clinic!), nursing injuries sustained during that overzealous weekend of activity. Here are some tips for reducing the risk of injuries and ensuring that you can enjoy your entire summer.
1. Start Slowly
After the long winter and cold spring we have had, your joints and muscles may not be primed and ready for a sudden increase in physical activities. Even though you may have been able to play 18 holes last summer, your body has not been performing those movements over the winter. Even athletes need time to train to a certain performance level! Depending on how active you were over the winter, you may want to start at approximately 50% of where you were last time you participated in that activity and increase by about 10% with each session. Rest for a day in between to gauge how your body responded to the previous day’s efforts.
2. Warm Up
“I can skip the warm up now that the weather is warm”, you say. It will give you a few more minutes to do battle with that patch of stubborn dandelions! Warming up not only serves the purpose of getting blood flowing to all the important tissues, but it also prepares your brain for all the activity specific movements you will be doing. This prevents unnecessary injuries and allows to perform better and more efficiently. Well worth the few minutes required!
We all want to take advantage of the longer daylight hours and fit more in than our bodies may be ready for. If your goal is to get as much of that outdoor project done as daylight allows you, make sure you pace by changing activities or sustained positions every 30 minutes. This can mean switching tasks in the same activity, doing a one minute stretch for that sore back or simply standing back to survey the amazing progress you have made in the last half hour!
4. Use the Right Equipment
When was the last time you had pulled on those hiking boots or jumped on that bike? Was that before your feet had changed size from your pregnancy? Did the gears on your bike always catch like this? Before embarking on that first hike or ride of the season, take a little time to review and check the equipment you will be using to ensure that it is still suitable and safe. If you are unsure about this or how long a piece of equipment should last you, ask the experts at the place of purchase.
Even on a cloudy day, we can become dehydrated from simply being outdoors for too long. Aside from the risk of heat stroke, dehydration can also lead to muscle cramping. This can result in injuries, or prevent you from being able to go back out there to help your team mates win that tournament or finish up that last bit of gardening..
Hope a some of these tips will help you spend more time doing what you love and less time at the physio clinic.