After a tumultuous start to 2020, most of us are eagerly looking forward to the coming summer months and a possible sense of normalcy being gradually restored. As soon as possible, we will begin to see increased activity in recreational areas such as running paths and ballparks. After a prolonged stay-at-home order, summer may just bring the perfect time to enjoy some extracurricular activities outdoors, but it can also be a time when injuries occur.
In our excitement to finally be out enjoying the weather and company of others, many of us will push too hard, too soon. While it’s important to be physically active, it is equally important to recognize our limits and ease into any new sports or fitness routines.
Before you head out this season, here are some tips to keep in mind to help you avoid injury:
WARM-UP BEFORE EXERCISE Just as you wouldn’t floor your gas pedal immediately after turning on your vehicle, you shouldn’t begin any strenuous activity without first giving your body an opportunity to warm-up. A quick stretch, walk, or light jog before exercise can help with flexibility, prevent injury, and even ward off muscle soreness later. Similarly, a brief cool-down after the workout will offer these same benefits while also helping breathing and heart rate to stabilize.
EASE INTO PHYSICAL ACTIVITY For those just beginning a new routine, it can be tempting to jump in quickly, but doing so can be a fast track to the sideline. Small, gradual increases in your level of physical activity are the safest course of action. By slowly building up, you will not only increase your endurance more quickly, you will also avoid muscle strain.
USE PROPER EXERCISE EQUIPMENT Wearing ill-fitting shoes or using the wrong gear for a given sport are accidents waiting to happen. Clothes, shoes and equipment are all designed to fit and be used in a particular way. When they aren’t, the likelihood of injury jumps dramatically. Whether running, playing basketball, or swinging a golf club, using the right gear is critically important to enjoy the sport
ON’T IGNORE DISCOMFORT DURING EXERCISE So many of us tend to push through small, nagging discomforts. Rather than being sidelined from our routine, we keep going with the knowledge that something is not quite right. Sometimes these pains are fleeting and cause no long-term ill effects. Other times, however, they are a sign of something larger – a more serious injury which has yet to come. It’s important that we listen to our bodies and treat the signs we are given with caution. Taking a day or two to rest and allow the body to recuperate will always be preferable to the more lengthy recovery time that may accompany carelessness.
After so many weeks of quarantine, most of us want to head outside and get moving again. And while it’s a great time of year to enjoy some outdoor activities, we must do so carefully. Following the tips above can ensure that you fully enjoy your spring and summer months without having them shortened by injury.
Of course, some injuries simply cannot be avoided, and in the case that you do experience one, the chiropractors and massage therapists at Islip Chiropractic & Wellness are here to help. Not only can our chiropractors help treat any existing problems that may be causing pain, they can help protect your body against future injury as well.