For the scholastic athlete, ideally summer would be a time away from competition, especially if you're a spring athlete who will resume sports like soccer and football in the fall. Giving your body periods of rest is one of the best injury prevention techniques available. Even if it's a month, time away from vigorous training can minimize the chance of suffering overuse injuries such as stress fractures and tendinitis. Rest should not mean becoming a couch potato however. Athletes should continue to maintain a healthy diet and get regular exercise, but cross training and participating in activities other than organized sports such as hiking, cycling, and swimming can allow recovery while maintaining conditioning and muscle mass. If mandatory training is scheduled over the summer, be aware that warmer weather will increase your fluid requirements, so hydrate before training and throughout practice to minimize the chance of dehydration. Don't wait until you're thirsty, otherwise it's sometimes too late. Lastly, training during cooler times of the day before ten and after four can be beneficial in reducing heat related illnesses.
For the outdoor enthusiast, summer affords a range of fresh opportunities from water sports to climbing and hiking and golf. Each of these activities can provide hours of beneficial physical activity and enjoyment but also exposure to injury.
Water sports especially require diligence to prevent what can unfortunately be catastrophic accidents. Learning to swim and appropriate utilization of flotation devices are paramount for anyone participating in these events. Utilizing resources such as community pools and the YMCA in the winter and spring months can get you a head start on acclimating to the water and increasing your endurance. Recognize that river and lake currents can fatigue one quicker than the backyard pool so take appropriate precautions to avoid cramping and fatigue while on the water. Swim with a friend always, as unfortunately drowning is the second leading killer of children ages 1-14. Adequate supervision and lessons can minimize harm for this age group.
Activities in wooded areas such as hiking and climbing require their own preparation and precautions to ensure safety. Checking safety equipment that has been stored all winter is the first step. For remote destinations having adequate provisions for first aid, nutrition, water, and communications is mandatory. Just as competitive athletics requires training, so do recreational activities such as these. Being in appropriate shape and fitness and setting realistic goals for the level of difficulty one is ready for can go along way towards preventing injury. Similar to watersports, don't travel alone. Lastly many illnesses can be transmitted from insects such as ticks and mosquitoes so utilize appropriate clothing and sprays to minimize these pests.
With these and other guidelines, summer can be a great time for the weekend warrior to enjoy new activities and the scholastic athlete to optimize their recovery and conditioning. If you are injured, we at Floyd Memorial Orthopedic Group are here to get you back and healthy. Stay safe and enjoy the warm weather!