There’s nothing like warmer temperatures to inspire us to get out the house and get moving. We say, good riddance to Netflix marathons and social media rabbit holes!
As a society, we’re learning more and more about the damage sitting around can do to our bodies, so let’s take advantage of the good weather and do our bodies some good. Sitting is the new smoking, after all.
While getting active is certainly a great way to stay healthy, it’s important to keep in mind that even much-loved activities can put us at risk for certain injuries.
For the most part, a little bit of common-sense and the right amount of stretching will do the trick. But it’s always a good idea to properly prepare before you dive into an old summer favorite.
Want to avoid preventable summer injuries? Read on…
Who’s at higher risk? Increased risk for pitchers, especially youth.
Risk factor: Pitchers who overdo it by throwing too hard or too often may end up with an elbow or shoulder injury (ulnar collateral ligament). The younger the pitcher, the bigger the concern. Find age appropriate guidelines here.
Preventive tips: In addition to stretching pre- and post-game, it is recommended to begin by throwing gradually, to avoid pitching on consecutive days, and to rotate playing positions.
Who’s at higher risk? Increased risk for those who cycle in urban areas.
Risk factor: Cycling is the leading cause of injury in the summer. Head injuries can lead to a brain injuries.
Got-to-have gear: Bike helmet
Preventive tips: In addition to wearing a properly fitting bike helmet, urban cyclists should abide by the rules of the road and make every effort to be visible to vehicles. Use bike lanes (when possible), avoid cycling in a car’s blind spot, wear bright (or fluorescent) clothing at night, and be extra cautious when crossing streetcar or railway tracks.
Who’s at higher risk? Increased risk while campers are asleep.
Risk factor: Bears, bugs, and burns.
Got-to-have gear: First Aid Kit, bug repellant
Preventive tips: In addition to packing the right gear, keep in mind that many preventable injuries happen while you sleep. Before you call it a night, triple check that every last ember of your campfire is out.
Be sure to store your food in a place that is out of a bear’s reach. Never bring any food with you inside of your tent, as this may attract bears. Also, make sure you’re sleeping behind a screen so that you aren’t a feast for bugs.
Who’s at higher risk? Increased risk for those who are underprepared.
Risk factor: The three main risks are a bad fall, heat exhaustion, or hypothermia.
Got-to-have gear: From a good map to the right pair of shoes, check out the full list of recommended gear here.
Preventive tips: In addition to a backpack filled with all your must-have gear, be sure to never hike alone. No matter how experienced a hiker you happen to be, a fall that leaves you immobile could be a real problem if you are hours away from civilization and help. Don’t forget to pack extra water and pace yourself (on hot days) and wear layers and keep dry (on cold days).
Who’s at higher risk? Increased risk as youth get older and level of play intensifies.
Risk factor: Injuries to the lower extremities, such as shin splints, patellar tendinitis and Achilles tendinitis, are most common.
Got-to-have gear: Well-fitting cleats and shin guards.
Preventive tips: In addition to wearing the proper gear, it’s important to strike a balance between maintaining your fitness year-long and not over-extending yourself. Health experts agree that players should take one season off a year for rest and recovery.
Don’t forget to stretch beforehand to avoid playing with “cold” muscles, which are more prone to injury. Stretching afterwards help keeps muscles flexible while reducing any post-game pain.
Who’s at higher risk? Increased risk for young adults/males.
Risk factor: Ankle injuries are by far the most common when water skiing.
Preventive tips: In addition to ankle-strengthening exercises and working on your balance (which also helps to strengthen your ankles), you may want to try exercises that will strengthen your body and prevent injuries while you’re riding the waves.
Whether you like to spend your summer in the water, in the bush, or on the field, now that you know how to prevent common injuries, we say: Get out there. Be safe. And have a blast!