Staying active in the summer heat can be tricky, especially in many parts of the country with consistent triple-digit temperatures. Here are some injury prevention tips to help keep you in the game all summer long.
Know Your Risks
Cardiovascular sports keep us fit and healthy. However, too much of a good thing can lead to these common overuse injuries.
- Hiking: patellar (kneecap) tendonitis, hamstring strains, calf strains
- Swimming: rotator cuff (muscles and tendons surrounding the shoulder joint) inflammation and tears
- Golfing: rotator cuff inflammation and tears, inner-elbow tendon inflammation ("golfer's elbow")
- Running: patellar tendonitis ("runner's knee"), stress fractures of the leg and foot
Switch It Up
Give your tired muscles a break by swapping out those running shoes for a pair of bicycle cleats and take a bike ride. Cross-training prevents overuse injuries and also strengthens underused muscles and boosts overall performance.
Stretch it Out
After a workout, it's easy to skip stretching and head straight to the showers. But even just a short stretch session before and after exercising can help you avoid chronic overuse injuries. Pro tip: focus on all body parts involved in the activity and move slowly and methodically with a focus on good form.
Listen to Your Body
If you experience any of these heat-related symptoms, stop all activity and cool down immediately:
- Extreme thirst
- Blurred vision
- Muscle cramping
- Joint aches, and
- Extreme shortness of breath
Rehydrate, Rest, Repeat
Avoid heat exhaustion by hydrating prior to working out. While exercising, take multiple water breaks in shaded areas to give your body a chance to cool down. After sweating it out in the hot sun, replenish those depleted electrolytes with sports drinks and get plenty of rest before heading back outdoors again.