Summer Sports Safety

  • Friday, May 15, 2009

Summer can't come fast enough for most of us. As the weather warms, people begin to flock to beaches, trails and ball fields. Everyone, it seems, wants to take advantage of the beautiful weather by ramping up their activity level. If you haven't made it a habit to be active throughout the year, first consider a few tips to stay safe. ne of the unfortunate side effects of summer exercising is an increase in injuries. Why? Because most warm-weather warriors fail to adequately prepare for their chosen activities after a winter lull. “Our weather may allow us to be active almost year-round, but more individuals will participate in team sports and outdoor activities in the summer than during the winter months,” says Larry Lowell, PT, director of sports medicine and rehabilitation at Trident Medical Center. “The most common summer sports injuries I see are soft tissue-related, such as muscle strains due to insufficient warm-up, lack of conditioning preparation or overuse.” The best way to limit summer sports injuries is to gradually ease into new activities. The body needs time to get accustomed to increased physical demands, especially as we age. “Too often, I've seen individuals who haven't exercised in years hurt themselves doing something as simple as playing softball,” says Danny Clayman, PTA, director of physical rehabilitation at Summerville Medical Center. “I recommend light jogging before intense activities, and I always tell people to properly stretch before and after exercising.” Beat the Heat! Staying safe when the weather warms up calls for making a few changes in your usual routine. To avoid overheating when gardening, walking or exercising outdoors, follow these tips: • Drink plenty of water. • Limit outdoor activities to cooler hours. • Rest frequently in the shade. • Wear a hat, sunglasses and lightweight, light-colored, loose-?fitting clothing to protect from ?direct sunlight. If you spend most of your time indoors, ask friends to check on you during heat waves, especially if you live alone and are age 65 or older. For more tips on exercise and wellness, visit tridenthealthsystem.com.

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