Summer is the perfect time to get outside and get active! Whether you’re a fan of gardening, golfing, surfing, kayaking, mountain climbing, other competitive sports, or traveling, summer is the ideal time to make it all happen. The longer, warmer days and the (hopefully) slower pace at the office all leave a little extra time for your favorite summer hobbies.
But it’s much easier than most people realize to become sidelined by crippling pain, especially injuries to the back, ankle, and knee.
Luckily with just a few simple adjustments, you can avoid these common summertime injuries and enjoy the warm weather, without the backaches, knee and ankle pains.
1. Bend your knees when gardening.
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. Be on the alert!
2. Stretch before your summer sport activities.
Whenever possible, take the time to stretch before beginning your activities.. Stretching loosens up your muscles, joints, and ligaments, essential to preventing injuries.
3. Gradually build up your activity levels.
For many of us, summer means extra motivation to set fitness goals and stick to them, which is great! Just remember, if you live in colder 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 accomplish, start with shorter goals and increase your activities over the span of several weeks.
4. Drink water.
Drinking plenty of water not only keeps your body temperature normal and cool, but it also keeps your muscles hydrated. Each time you sweat, your body loses fluids, which can lead to muscle cramps.
5. Take breaks.
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.
6. Don’t cram everything into the weekend.
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. After being chained to your desk for five days, 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.
7. Ditch the 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, 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.
8. Be careful when carrying heavy bags.
Whether it’s luggage or golf clubs, carrying any heavy bag stresses your posture and is a common cause of pain symptoms. A golf bag full of clubs, for instance, can weigh as much as 35 pounds! Your goal should be to keep the weight of any bag you’re carrying under 10 percent of your body weight. Consider using a pull-cart bag on the golf course and stick with the lightest golf bag you can find.
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.
Hey, we get it. You’re experiencing pain and are seeking answers as to what might be causing it. Everybody’s pain is unique. This article is not intended to provide diagnosis or treatment. Rather, professional consultation specific to your symptoms is recommended. Summer is the perfect time to stop into our Knoxville office – schedule an appointment online.