Summer is finally here! Now’s the perfect time to be out and about, whether it’s taking a trip to the beach, hiking up a mountain, or playing your favorite outdoor sport. With warmer weather comes more fun outdoors — and unfortunately, more opportunity for sports and exercise-related injuries.
While our physicians are always ready to provide you with orthopedic care, we prefer you do not get hurt in the first place. With so much to do here in sunny Southwest Florida, here are our five tips for an active and safe summer.
1. Use Proper Gear And Equipment
If you’re planning on doing outdoor activities this summer, wear the proper gear for your chosen activity. Good footwear goes a long way in minimizing the risk of hip, knee, or ankle injuries. Get shoes that are appropriate to your chosen sport, provide adequate support, and are equipped with cushioning.
You should also be meticulous about outdoor clothing and equipment. Prepare all the gear that you’ll be needing for each activity. Wearing improper equipment can result in complications such as sprains and other injuries.
2. Don’t Skip Warm-Ups And Cool Downs
Poor form and cold muscles could lead to unnecessary injuries. Don’t forget to warm up before any activity. Ten minutes of light jogging, walking, and stretching will help ease your body into physical activity. When your joints are tight, you’re more likely to have an injury. Warming up is also an effective way to reduce muscle soreness, since it promotes blood and oxygen supply to your muscles.
When you’re done being active for the day, it might be tempting to take a bath and rest straight after. However, cooling down and stretching at the end of an activity is important, because it prevents joint stiffness while increasing mobility and lubricating your joints.
3. Hydrate Properly
Summer always brings the heat — and dehydration can come with it. So, be sure to hydrate well before, throughout, and after exercise. It gives your muscles the energy they need to perform and replenishes the electrolytes that you lose due to excessive sweating. Dehydration signs that you should look out for include:
- Infrequent urination
- Dark urine
- Unusual thirst
- Dry skin
- Irritable mood
If you notice these symptoms, rest and drink some water immediately. It’s also be a good idea to avoid doing outdoor activities during the peak hours of the day, which are between 10 am to 3 pm.
4. Find A Buddy
Doing outdoor activities with friends is fun, builds camaraderie, and adds motivation. However, from a safety standpoint, having another person with you can help identify issues. Your friends may detect improper body form or signs of heat-related illness before you do. In the worst-case scenario, they’ll be able to assist you if you get injured.
5. Exercise Moderately
Exercise should never be painful. Whatever sport or activity you’re playing, remember to take it slow and listen to your body. Practice moderation by gradually increasing your exercise’s intensity, duration, and frequency. This is especially essential if you weren’t physically active during the previous several months. Pushing your limits and doing too much too soon might result in pulled muscles, cramps, and other serious sports injuries.
Aside from easing your way into an activity, you should also learn to listen to your body. If your muscles and joints feel sore, take a break from exercising and sports. Doing too much too often can result in overuse injuries. Get in touch with your orthopedic doctor if you notice:
- Pain that persists or worsens
- Inability to bear weight on one leg
- Reduced function or range of motion in a joint
- Joint instability and deformity
Braving through the pain won’t do you any good. Stop if you feel pain while exercising or suspect that you’ve sustained an injury. Check-in with your doctor to get diagnosed and treated.
Orthopedic Doctors In Your Area
No matter how you’re spending your summer, it’s important to take care of your physical health. Unfortunately, mishaps and orthopedic injuries still happen regardless of the safety measures in place. If you suffer a sudden injury and need treatment, choose Advanced Orthopedic Center.
Our skilled, board-certified orthopedic doctors take great pride in providing the highest quality of care for our patients who live an active lifestyle and sustain orthopedic injuries. We can also equip you with effective strategies to prevent further injuries and enhance your performance. We are committed to delivering compassionate, personalized care to serve our patients’ needs.
If you experience an injury this summer, call us at (941) 629-6262 or use our online appointment request form to schedule a consultation with one of our orthopedic doctors. Here’s to enjoying a safe, fun, and happy summer!