Top 10 Tips for Enjoying an Active Summer
With the shining sun and rising temperatures of the summer season, being outdoors seems to be on everyone’s agenda.
Hiking and camping are favored outdoor activities that have seemingly withstood the test of time as many families continue to venture into the woods for a relaxing getaway.
With national, state and local parks so close to many homes, people are taking advantage of these attractions. However, even trips to parks and lakes bring increased risk of physical injury in all activities. Physiotherapy Associates, the nation’s foremost provider of outpatient rehabilitation services, estimates an increase in injuries this summer.
“We see a notable increase in the number of people who come to our offices for treatment in the summer time,” according to the clinicians of Physiotherapy Associates. “The most common are overuse injuries. After a continual repetitive demand, of activities like hiking, certain movement causes tissue damage. Most overuse injuries could have been prevented if people had stretched first and had known their limitations.”
To help people enjoy safe trips to parks and campsites, our clinicians offer the following top 10 tips for safe outdoor excursions:
- Pack smart. Consider what emergencies could arise and how you would deal with those situations, packing the appropriate supplies including emergency signaling devices.
- Get checked out. If you have any pre-existing medical conditions, discuss your plans with your health care provider and get approval before beginning your trip.
- Train. For strenuous trips, get into good physical condition first. Start training no less than one month before hitting the trails. A fitness program should include cardio and strengthening and conditioning exercises. A physical therapist can suggest proper exercises and help create a workout plan to prepare.
- Buddy-Up. It's safest to hike or camp with at least one companion. If entering a remote area, your group should have a minimum of four people; this way, if one is hurt, two can walk out for help.
- Know Your Route. If going into an area that is unfamiliar, take along someone who knows the area or at least talk with those who do beforehand and plan a route, including ranger station sites and emergency telephone locations.
- Plan ahead. When using park rentals like boats, review the equipment, supplies and skills needed for an outdoor adventure and make a checklist. Arrive at the destination early in the day to become familiar with the equipment, instructions and emergency supplies.
- Stay hydrated. Dehydration is an ominous threat during the summer months. When hiking and camping, be sure to pack enough water to stay fully hydrated. Your body needs about one quart of water per hour when exercising for prolonged periods, according to Healthy Water’s website. Hydration backpacks, also known as camelbacks, are appropriate for longer hikes and are ergonomically designed to prevent back pain from unequal weight distribution.
- Don’t dive in shallow water. When boating or swimming in lakes, remember that depth varies throughout. Avoid diving in areas where you are unsure of the depth. Nearly one quarter of all sports-related injuries for people up to 24 years old, are from diving accidents.
- Stretch…Stretch…and stretch again. Some of the most common injuries in the summer are from sprains and strains that could have been avoided with a few minutes of stretching. Before doing any activity – especially hiking – invest some time in stretching your legs and arms before and afterward.
- Wear flip flops wisely. Plain and simple: flip flops are not for hiking. While they may be comfortable, flip flops can be dangerous when worn during vigorous activities. Make sure your shoes match your activity.
No matter what your activity, don’t overdo it! Take everything in moderation – whether you’re taking a leisurely hike to your campsite or climbing a mountain, be conscious of your body and its needs.
For more information on safe hiking and camping tips, or to have a therapist evaluate your physical condition before a trip, contact the clinic nearest you. Click here to find one._
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