Summer is a time to have fun and spend time outdoors. It is an opportunity to enjoy the sunshine. It’s a time when you can go out for a walk and roll down the windows and take in everything that nature has to offer. The weather encourages you to be active and venture outside. The only caveat with outdoor activities is the risk of injuries due to twists, turns, and falls, among other reasons. The good news is that these injuries can be easily prevented with the advice of a physical therapist.
Physical therapists are licensed professional and experts in injury prevention and rehabilitation of injuries. If you want to make the most out of this summer, here are some tips from your local PT to ensuring a safe, fun and injury-free summer:
1. Wear Protective Gear
When participating in contact sports, it is essential to wear protective gear appropriate to that activity. For example, wearing helmets, gloves, properly fitting shoes and shin pads (depending on the sport or activity) can prevent injury. Children are undoubtedly more prone to sustaining injuries such as scrapes, bruises, ligament tears, and even broken bones.
2. Stretching Exercises
Summer presents a tempting opportunity to jump into several activities. If your muscles are deconditioned from the long winter, it’s important to plan ahead. You want to eliminate muscle tears and joint injuries, all of which form a part of the ‘weekend warrior syndrome’. Stretching the muscles and warming them up adequately before and after exercising can help prevent muscle aches and joint pains. Your physical therapist will be able to advise you on the right stretching exercises to perform before and after participating in any activity.
3. Proper Body Mechanics
It’s important to be careful when using equipment. Gardening tends to be a popular activity during the summer. Using a wheelbarrow to carry heavy objects is highly advisable. If you are unsure of proper body mechanics and how to avoid back injuries, ask your physical therapist or other medical professional who can teach you how to use different muscle groups when lifting heavy objects.
4. Strengthen the Core
The core muscles refer to the abdominals and lower back. Exercises such as leg raises, crunches, and simple rotational movements can help strengthen the muscles of the back and abdomen. This can help in preventing injuries. To be on the safe side, ask your physician if it’s safe for you to exercise.
Don’t let the summer months pass you by because of an injury. Nobody wants to spend the summer stuck in bed because of a preventable injury. As your physical therapists, we want you to enjoy the activities you love without hurting yourself. Let us help you plan for a fun and exciting summer.
Dr. Daniel Skulavik, PT, DPT, OCS, is with Advanced Physical Therapy located in the Food Lion Shopping Center, Clinton.