It’s time for another Austin Sports Medicine 101 class!
In the last blog, we discussed injuries that can cause individuals to be sidelined for the summer. Some injuries may even require physical therapy in order for patients to fully recover. Prevention is the key to staying healthy and happy this season. Here are some tips to avoid those summer-fun-ending injuries:
- Year-round maintenance. Ideally, individuals won’t leave exercise for the warmer months. While this advice may not make a difference this year, it will pay off in spades next summer. If a person lives in colder climates, they may hit the gym or walk an indoor mall to keep up their fitness levels. Any regular efforts will make a big difference when activity levels dramatically increase for the summer since their bodies won’t be starting “cold.”
- Warm-up and stretch. Stretching before a workout or sport is a good idea for anyone but particularly those who haven’t been active for a while. For those planning to be involved in an especially rigorous event, begin warming up a week in advance by including some cardio with the stretches.
- Know one’s limits. As people get older, their bodies simply aren’t capable of what they once were. This is particularly true if they’ve taken off the winter months from physical fitness. Don’t jump right into running that 10K. Start out slow and build up endurance. Take a few power walks, move into jogging and slowly increase the pace and distance.
- Treat old injuries. Putting off a sports injury issue because it just didn’t seem too bad? Well it could be getting worse without the person even knowing it. Getting back into a sport may exasperate the problem, as well. Don’t delay – see a sports medicine doctor to get the body in perfect working condition again before attempting any strenuous activity.
- Hydrate. Although the elderly and young are most susceptible to extreme heat, everyone should stay hydrated when involved in an outdoor sport in the summer months. Drink lots of water beforehand and compensate for lost levels of electrolytes during the activity by drinking a sports drink. Avoid alcohol and caffeinated beverages before the activity as they increase the rate of dehydration.
- Wear a helmet. Brain injuries can not only be season-ending, they can be life-altering. If a person is skateboarding, bicycling or rollerblading, strap on a helmet to prevent head injuries. Helmets should be a comfortable fit, low on the head as possible, and stable enough to support hard impacts.