Summer is the perfect time to get outside and get more active. The kids are home from school and the weather is cooperative. Whether you’re a fan of gardening, golfing, surfing, kayaking, mountain climbing, or traveling, summer is the ideal time to make it all happen. The longer, warmer days and the (hopefully) slower pace at work all leave a little extra time for your favorite summer hobbies, or time to try out some new summer activities altogether.
However, if you’re not aware of your body, it’s much easier than most people realize to become sidelined by crippling pain due to injury, especially injuries to the back, ankle, and knee. Luckily with just a few simple adjustments to the way you go about being active, you can avoid these common summertime injuries and enjoy the warm weather, without the backaches, knee and ankle pains. Summer is no time to be stuck on the couch!
Did you know two of the most common back pain causes in the summer are gardening and lawn work? At first, it might feel perfectly natural to bend at your back while working in your garden, but this habit results in pain symptoms over time. You should instead bend your knees and use your leg strength, especially when pulling weeds or lifting something particularly heavy. Similarly, activities like raking, pulling, twisting, and lifting heavy bags can also lead to back pain, knee pain, and ankle injuries. Bending at the waist can wear the body out quickly, and bending at the knee and using the legs to assist in lifting can keep your back happy.
Whenever possible, take the time to stretch before beginning your activities. Stretching loosens up your muscles, joints, and ligaments, essential to preventing injuries. For many of us, summer means extra motivation to set fitness goals and stick to them. Just remember, if you live in colder or damp climates, you may have become deconditioned during the winter months. It’s best to ease back into daily activity to avoid back pain, ankle pain, and knee pain symptoms. To set yourself up to succeed, start with shorter goals and increase your activities over the span of several weeks.
Water makes a huge difference in your body. Drinking plenty of water not only keeps your body temperature normal and cool, it also keeps your muscles hydrated. Each time you sweat, your body loses fluids, which can lead to muscle cramps. Treat your body well by keeping it hydrated and it will return the favor!
Whether it’s swimming, tennis, golf or gardening, periodically give your body the chance to rest and restore itself. Recharge your batteries and skip that ankle injury or knee injury in the process. Pacing yourself will make summer more enjoyable because you won’t be nursing an injury. A common summertime habit is bolting out of the office and into the warm weekends, spending the next few days catching up on your favorite sports and physical activities. Since summer slips away as quickly as it rolls in, it’s completely understandable. But it’s also not worth risking back pain, ankle pain or knee pain as a result of your supercharged, active summer weekends. Instead, work on getting in 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day, as often as you can. You’ll be much stronger and better prepared for that long weekend hike or days spent out on the golf course.
This one will hurt. Really. We’re going to talk about flip flops. From ankle pain to knee pain and beyond, the stability of your foot and the support of your arch has an impact on the entire body. Lightweight flip flops are a convenient summer go-to and they’re so cute, but you’ll be glad you took the time to choose a shoe that keeps your foot stable while also supporting your heel and the front of your foot. We know; we’re sorry.
During the summer months, you’ll, of course, want to take advantage of the beautiful weather by jumping right into the activities you love the most, and you should! Being active in the summer is great for both your body and your mind. Take the proper precautions above, and you’ll enjoy a pain-free summer to remember. The staff and family at Momentum Chiropractic remain grateful to be a part of your journey to wellness. If you are curious about taking a deeper dive in your personal health, please reach out! We want to help you be the healthiest you that you can be.