By Emily Foertsch, DNP, Christie Clinic Department of Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
As summer inches closer and closer my family is getting ready for morning walks, outdoor exercise and summertime fun. With the excitement of warmer weather on the horizon, here are a few tips and tricks to keep your fun in the sun safe!
1) TAKE IT EASY! Although were all excited to put away our parkas and hit the ground running, depending on your level of activity during the winter months you may want to consider a gradual return to exercise. If you’re a summertime runner, consider a walk to run program. If you’re a cyclist, don’t overextend yourself on mileage your first time out. As always, consider cross-training by simply moving your weights to the garage or using body weight for exercise in your backyard.
2) SPF. Although we often think of injury prevention as mechanical, it would behoove us to protect the largest organ of our bodies: our skin. Skin is the primary protector of our bodies but is often neglected when we consider injury prevention and safety. We need to protect our skin with a water/sweat-proof sunscreen of at least SPF 50 that is applied to our face and skin at least every two hours when exposed to sunlight. And don’t forego hats or sunglasses to help protect our face and eyes when playing outside.
3) SAFETY GEAR. Outdoor exercise come with its own set of equipment. Make sure to don the lifejacket for watersports such as waterskiing and wakeboarding. Bikers, wear your helmet and protective eye-gear. Runners and walkers this is your excuse to buy a new pair of shoes that support your arches and ankles. It’s also important to be aware of your surroundings when exercising outside. Be sure you can hear oncoming traffic, especially if your exercise with headphones, and use reflective gear or lights if exercising in the early morning or after sunset.
4) WATER. Hydration in the summer is not only important for safety, but can also impact performance, stamina and overall health. When exercising in the heat, the amount of water needed can vary, so don’t stick to one set number of fluid ounces per day, especially if you’re picking up the pace. Add more water when the heat index rises, space out your hydration and don’t wait for thirst as an indicator. Drinking water throughout the day is best, even if you are only exercising outside for short amounts of time.
5) LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. If you get hurt, don’t push through the pain. Injuries that cause serious pain, increased swelling that lasts more than 48 hours, or extreme stiffness or weakness is your ticket to come in and see a provider. Christie Clinic Department of Orthopedics and Sports Medicine takes Walk-In patients Monday-Friday from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Come in and see one of our providers at 3101 Fields South Drive in Champaign to evaluate an injury, review exercises to stretch and strengthen your body, and receive return to activity and sport guidance.
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