Summer is a favorite time to join in fun outdoor activities and jumpstart your workout routine with scenic views and sunny hues. However, these activities often lead to bumps, bruises, and even fractures.
To be fair, the blustery weather and shorter days of autumn and winter often keep us indoors for several months of the year. So when spring and summer roll around, our musculoskeletal systems may not be prepared for the activities which lie ahead, and that increases the risk of sprains, strains, and fractures.
Doctors will tell you that most common warm-weather sports injuries are musculoskeletal injuries – those that affect the knee, ankle, elbow, back, shoulder, ligaments, and head. Here are some ways to prevent musculoskeletal injuries when the temperature rises in the spring and summer.
Conditioning in the Colder Months
Rather than leaping into strenuous activities when the first sunny day arrives, try conditioning your body ahead of time. Over a period of four to six weeks, try to gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts. Start with just 30 minutes a few days a week – and slowly rev up your exercise to 45 minutes to an hour, and tack on an extra day when you are ready.
Keep a log of your exercise sessions to reflect your progress. It’s important not to overdo it; many “weekend warriors” overextend themselves by not taking rest days and by attempting to play through the pain.
Warm Up and Cool Down
Never underestimate the power of a warm-up. According to the American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine, there were approximately 9.6 million doctor’s visits in 2015 due to shoulder symptoms alone. Many of these “overuse” injuries were related to summertime sports such as golf, volleyball, and swimming.
Avoid injury by adjusting your routine – whether it’s practicing at the golf driving range or warming up with jumping jacks before diving into the deep end of the pool. There are many specific stretches you can do to prevent injury.
Don’t be hasty with the cool-down, either: Set aside a few minutes for stretching after exercising. When cooling down, do gentle stretching and ensure your heart rate is back to normal before you jump into the shower.
Stay Hydrated During Exercise
Have you had enough water to drink? It’s important to proactively replenish fluids, especially to support your musculoskeletal system. That’s because water not only keeps you cool, it’s also necessary for your joints to retain their sponginess to cushion the bones that rely on them.
And don’t wait until you’re thirsty. Dehydration can exacerbate pain and even lead to heat stroke – a leading cause of death in athletes. Sip water throughout the day, do not just gulp it when you are parched, which is a sign that your body may already be dehydrated.
Stay Steady Wherever You Roam
Trail running, bike riding, skateboarding. These sports become even more fun when they can be enjoyed in the great outdoors, not just around the block. But with that comes the danger of unsteady roads and jagged ridges, and falling or misstepping is something you don’t want to do.
To avoid sprains and strains, as well as fractures, stay on the paths. Wear a helmet, proper footwear, and kneepads, depending on the sport. Try to stay in well-lit areas, and avoid unknown terrain until you can become more familiar.
Concussions and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are very serious matters, with concussion-prevention clinics being mandatory for athletes, coaches, and parents. Take caution when “heading” the ball during a soccer game.
When riding bikes, wear a helmet. When climbing, know your limits and wear proper protection. And with regard to spinal injuries, never dive in dark, shallow, or unmarked bodies of water – even if there is a very innocent-looking dock in what appears to be deep water.
Orthopedic Doctor in Greater Detroit
If you’re looking for more tips to prevent musculoskeletal sports injuries this summer, reach out to the orthopedic specialists here at Movement Orthopedics. Our medical team offers a personalized approach to patient care, so you can get back on your feet and back in the game as quickly as possible.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact us today by calling us at (586) 436-3785 or complete our online appointment request form now. We look forward to serving you!