Finally, winter is officially behind us and it’s summer on Long Island! It’s been a long, scary year, a bitter winter and a general period of confusion and dysfunction. However, the COVID-19 vaccine is here, flowers in bloom and temperatures up! Of course, this means a few months of blissful warmth and a return to many of our favorite outdoor activities. But despite our excitement and enthusiasm, it should also be a time of caution and safety. For many, summer can also be a time of several common injuries.
At Lake Shore Physical Therapy, many of our patients seek treatment for summertime injuries they easily could have prevented. Obviously, we never want to discourage anyone from getting out, staying active and enjoying fresh air and exercise. However, we do want to encourage safety and educate our patients on injury prevention. Therefore, in this post we’ll explore some summer injury prevention tips. With any luck, you’ll seamlessly apply them and get through the summer without even a scratch.
1. Stretch, Stretch, Stretch!
For so many of us, summer means returning to our favorite activities. Golf, tennis, badminton, skating, volleyball and bicycling are just a few of the consummate summer hobbies that come to mind. Unfortunately, the grim truth is that too many people who enjoy them end up with aches and pains, or worse: acute injuries. However, one simple measure can eliminate their likelihood: stretching.
Motion and heightened activity are essential to our health. Basically, stretching helps prepare our bodies for the strain we’re about to subject them to. Some simple, light dynamic stretches like lunges, squats or twists are often enough to eliminate the chance of injury from exercise mistakes. So whenever you’re about to engage in anything that will accelerate your heartbeat or make you sweat, remember to stretch!
2. Wear Protective Gear
Before we go any further, allow us to clarify once and for all: wearing protective gear does not make you a nerd. In fact, any reliable physical therapist will confirm that several patients each summer seek treatment for sports injuries that protective gear could have prevented.
Helmets, knee pads, footwear, gloves, goggles – whatever it is your chosen activity requires, wear it. And if you’re hesitating because you suspect it may be an unnecessary expense, allow us to clarify again: stop hesitating, and it’s not. Think of your purchase of safety gear as an investment in your long-term health – 100% worth it.
3. Don’t Compromise Your Rest
Of course, with summer in full swing and so much more to do, we want to do everything. It’s truly amazing how many people stretch themselves way too thin every summer, either by working too much during seasonal jobs or partying too hard. Regardless, your body needs a break. You may feel temptation to compromise one thing for the sake of another. However, you should never compromise sleep.
No matter what season of the year, sleep isn’t something you can “make up for” later. Sleep is essential both for our ability to heal as well as our ability to focus on what we’re doing. If we’re doing anything strenuous or dangerous on insufficient sleep, we’re a lot more likely to hurt ourselves. Check out the National Sleep Foundation for more fundamental information on the universal importance of proper sleep.
Conclusion – Lake Shore Physical Therapy
No matter what, you should absolutely enjoy yourself this summer. After a long and difficult year for everyone, we deserve a fun, stress-free and safe season. The last thing anyone wants after such a bleak period of quarantine and social distancing is to wind up with a painful, restrictive injury.
At Lake Shore Physical Therapy, we know firsthand the importance of injury prevention. We also consider it part of our mission to educate our patients on the numerous ways they can apply these prevention techniques and enjoy pain-free, mobile and independent lifestyles!