The Heat Is On: How to Ward Off Warm-Weather Sports-Related Injuries
The balmy weather – coupled with time off from school or work – can leave an opening for outdoor sports and recreation. However, these activities often lead to bumps, bruises, and even fractures. According to Health Journal, the most common warm-weather injuries include knee, ankle, elbow, and shoulder sprains, ligament injuries, fractures, concussions, neck or lower back strain, and heat-related illnesses.1
Months of holiday parties and blustery weather often keep us indoors for several months of the year. When spring and summer roll around, we often aren’t in shape for the activities that lie ahead, which increases the risk of injury.
Rather than leaping right into strenuous activities come spring, try conditioning your body ahead of time.1 Over a period of four to six weeks, try to gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts. Start with just 30 minutes a few days a week – and slowly rev up your exercise to 45 minutes or an hour and tack on an extra day. Keep a log of your sweat sessions, so you can reflect on this progress. It’s important not to overdo it. Many “weekend warriors” overextend themselves by not taking rest days and by attempting to play through the pain.2
Never underestimate the power of a warm-up. According to the American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine, there were approximately 9.6 million doctor’s visits due to shoulder symptoms in 2015. Many of these “overuse” injuries were related to summertime sports such as golf, volleyball, and swimming.3
You can avoid injury by adjusting your routine – whether it’s making practicing at the driving range par for the course or warming up with jumping jacks before diving into the deep end. According to the experts at the University of Rochester Medical Center, there are many specific stretches you can do to prevent injury; among them are forward and side lunges, standing quad stretches, and seated stretches. Don’t be hasty with the cooldown, either; set aside a few minutes for stretching after exercising, as well.
Have you had enough water to drink? It’s important to proactively replenish fluids. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty.1 Dehydration can exacerbate pain and even lead to heat stroke – one of the three leading causes of death in athletes.4 Be sure to practice proper hydration by drinking plenty of water before, during, and after exercise.
Dress for the occasion, too. Light-colored clothing is your friend during warm-weather months and can mean the difference between a winning game and a heat stroke. Limit your clothing to one layer and be sure that it’s well-ventilated. Many brands sell wicking, breathable, and UPF materials5 which are made to keep sun rays at bay.
If you’re looking for more tips to prevent sports injuries this summer, reach out to the primary care physicians at Rockville Concierge Doctors. Practicing a unique model of concierge medicine, their team offers a personalized approach to patient care, as well as the option for 24/7 urgent access to a primary care physician. For more information, call 301-545-1811.