We’re talking to you, Weekend Warrior. And you, Vacation Over-Achiever. And even you, Holiday Hiker. You know who you are – the exciting sort who takes advantage of long weekend days and to fulfill your adventurous side. The same one who comes into the office Monday morning a little worse for the wear, limping with a pulled hammie, cringing with a strained shoulder, or, heaven forbid, favoring a tweaked back. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to have a little extra fun on your days off work, of course. However, all too often our outdoor escapades result in injuries, putting a fast and unpleasant crimp in our active summer style. Luckily, there are a few easy steps you can take to avoid summer injuries.
- Balance it out. So, you joined a summer softball league? Good for you. However, be sure to not let that weekly game be your only exercise. Going from zero to 90 and back to zero again for the next six days is a great way to overstrain untrained muscles and injure yourself. Keep a steady pace of activity and weight-lifting throughout the week. Then, come game time, your performance and your experience will be even better.
- Equip yourself. Just because your mom used to make you use your sibling’s bike helmet or your dad’s old baseball glove, doesn’t mean it’s a good idea for you today. Using ill-fitting or inappropriate gear can cause discomfort, compromised performance, or even injuries. Not only that, some sport gear, such as running shoes, may be past their prime even if they still look just fine.
- Act your age. Face it – while that high school letter jacket in your closet may still fit (sort of), chances are that your athletic moves match no high schooler’s. Respect your body’s limits, and your body will respect you.
- Warm up, cool down. This is one of those rules that you’ve heard so often, you might have started tuning it out. Cold muscles springing to action equals a big risk for injury. While you should not put cold muscles (muscles that have been stationary) through a stretching routine before an athletic event, you should do a light warm-up. Going for a walk or light jog, doing a couple minute’s worth of easy jumping jacks, or even dancing to your favorite fast-paced song can effectively warm up your muscles, making them ready for action. Cooling down after the activity, with a little stretching, can help to ensure a brighter, less-sore tomorrow.
- Remember to get frequent tune-ups – in the form of regular massages, of course. Your massage therapist does so much more than lengthen your muscles and work out knots and strains. During your massage, your range of motion is being improved, blood is flowing more readily to all parts of your body, and you’ll notice a reduction in stiffness and soreness. Also, if you do happen to get an injury, you’ll want to head over to Elements, pronto. Our therapists can help you get back in the game in a shorter amount of time.