The sun is shining, the weather is inviting, and when we have the time, many of us choose to be outside. After the brutal winter we had, New Jerseyans are celebrating the gorgeous weather this summer by spending as much of their time outdoors as possible, and for many active people that includes exercise routines, too. The upswing in physical activity participation is certainly one of the more positive effects of the summer weather, but it also comes with an increase in injuries and some other potential dangers.
Summer’s nice weather opens up the doors for a wide variety of outdoor activities, some of which are perfect during this time of year. Whether it’s jogging, biking, rollerblading, kayaking, wakeboarding or playing basketball, golf or tennis, there’s something to suit everyone’s taste during these months. Potential problems tend to arise when people train too hard or too intensely for too long, which can lead to a number of injuries.
We tend to see a significant jump in injuries throughout the summer at ARS Hand & Physical Therapy, and overuse injuries are some of the most common. What happens is many people try to take advantage of the nice weather too aggressively, and their muscles and joints are being worked in ways that they’re not used to after being given a break during the colder months. Overuse injuries can result from this type of approach, and some of the most common examples include runner’s knee, plantar fasciitis, low back pain, tennis shoulder and rotator cuff tendinitis.
Another major problem is staying cool while exercising during the really hot summer days. Working too hard when it’s extremely hot out comes with a number of dangers of its own, including heat stroke, dehydration, hyponatremia, heat exhaustion and heat cramps. These types of issues can become even worse in the high humidity we experience in New Jersey, meaning extra precautions should be taken.
Below are some tips to help you continue exercising the rest of the summer while keeping your risk for injury and other heat-related complications at a minimal:
- If you’re starting a new exercise routine or sport, take your time and ease into it gradually to allow your body to adapt
- Vary your normal workouts with some other cross-training activities like hiking, swimming or kayaking to change it up
- Stretch all muscle groups in the back, legs and arms before and after exercising
- Ensure your shoes and all other equipment fits well and isn’t worn out
- Don’t exercise with any lingering pain beyond minor aches or soreness; this can be a sign of the onset of a more severe injury
- Avoid exercising between 10 am-3 pm, which is the hottest time of the day; early morning is usually the best time of day to exercise
- Stay hydrated by drinking lots of water and sports drinks with electrolytes not only when you’re thirsty, but throughout the day, especially when it’s hot
- Wear loose, light-colored clothing to reflect heat and keep your body cool
- Know the signs of heat-related issues like dehydration and hyponatremia
By being cautious and taking it easy, you can better ensure a safe and successful summer in the sun without any injuries or heat-related issues. For more information or to schedule an appointment for any other problems you may be having, contact ARS Hand & Physical Therapy in Springfield, NJ at 973-379-7006.