If you want to an injury free summer, you’ve got to do some planning, some prep and definitely take a few minutes to protect yourself.

Summer is a time to have fun and spend time outdoors — not to go to the doctors. But with outdoor activities, there’s always a risk for injuries due to twists, turns, and falls, among other reasons. The good news is that these injuries can be easily prevented with the help of a physical therapist.

Physical therapy can greatly help you have an injury-free summer.

Physical therapists are licensed professionals and experts in injury prevention and rehabilitation. If you want to make the most out of this summer, it’s time to visit your physical therapist.

How to Have a Fun, Safe Summer

Here are some tips to ensure a safe, fun and injury-free summer:

Wear Protective Gear When Needed

Children playing little league baseball.

Summer sports often include baseball, soccer and cycling, sports that can all lead to serious injuries if basic safety precautions are not taken. When participating in any sports, it is essential to wear protective gear appropriate to that activity.

For baseball, for instance, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that protective gear can reduce serious injuries by 36%. That means fewer concussions when wearing a helmet for balls to the head and even less chance of serious sun burns when wearing long sleeve shirts and pants. The right gear makes a serious difference.

Children are undoubtedly more prone to sustaining injuries such as scrapes, bruises, ligament tears, and even broken bones. The problem for kids is that often they’re often given gear that doesn’t fit. To save pennies, parents are risking serious dollars in healthcare costs for injuries that could have been prevented if their child had the right gear for their size.

Stretch Before and After Exercises

Because it’s hot, summer presents a tempting opportunity to jump into activities cold. If your muscles are deconditioned from the long winter, it’s important to plan ahead and get into shape. And getting into shape means stretching.

Muscle tears and joint injuries – part of the ‘weekend warrior syndrome’ — can create long-term health issues. However, stretching presents an easy alternative. Stretching the muscles and warming them up adequately before and after exercising can help prevent muscle aches and joint pains. Your physical therapist will be able to advise you on the right stretching exercises to perform before and after participating in any activity.

Your physical therapist can provide an exercise regimen that specifically supports you and your activities, however, try to think in terms of three categories:

Leg Stretches

Leg stretches protect both your legs and also your back, spine and spinal nerves. Tight muscles in the legs can lead to nerve issues, like sciatica, that can be debilitating simply because the muscles are too tight around the base of the nerves.

Core Stretches

The core muscles refer to the abdominals and lower back. Exercises such as leg raises, crunches, and simple rotational movements can help strengthen the muscles of the back and abdomen. This can help in preventing injuries. Your physical therapist will provide you with various exercises that can strengthen your core and prevent back, hip, and knee injuries.

Arm Stretches

You do a lot with your arms through the summer, so keeping your arms limber help to reduce tears and strain. They also protect your neck and can reduce headaches, especially if you become slightly dehydrated.

Focus on Proper Body Mechanics

It’s important to be careful when using equipment. Gardening tends to be a popular activity during the summer. Using a wheelbarrow to carry heavy objects is highly advisable.

Your physical therapist can give you great advice on how to avoid back injuries by teaching you how to use different muscle groups when lifting heavy objects and other activities.

Have the Best Summer Ever — Be Injury Free

Don’t let the summer months pass you by because of an injury. Nobody wants to spend the summer stuck in bed because of a preventable injury. Visit your physical therapist today to learn about injury prevention this summer.

As your physical therapists, we want you to enjoy the activities you love without hurting yourself. Let us help you plan for a fun and exciting summer.

If you find yourself out of shape or in pain after a long winter’s rest, reach out to us. We’ll help your body prepare for a fabulous summer.

To make an appointment with a STARS physical therapist, contact us today!