L I F E S T A R T

How to Avoid Injuries During Summer Workouts

There is something about summer that makes us all want to be more active, especially after two long years of limiting our activities with friends and family.  Finally, we can bike, hike, or try other outdoor activities with friends.  Let's focus a little less on first aid for injuries and talk about how to best prevent and avoid injuries during this summer's workouts. 
With fun on our minds, we must remember to take care of ourselves and ensure we're not pushing our bodies too much, or our summer activities can quickly come to a screeching halt!  
 
Of course, taking precautions will take a bit of planning and practicality, but the goal here is to make sure we don't end up seriously injuring ourselves.  During summers, wounds can take longer to heal (and you may only have a few short weeks of summer weather). 
 
Here are some tips to keep in mind when exercising outdoors or when you decide to finally check off a bucket list item like attempting a challenging hike like the Fundy Footpath. 
 
Stretching is Key to any Outdoor Workout
Stretching before any workout is essential; we might be more likely to forget if we're outside and distracted.  Forgetting to stretch your body correctly can mean waking up to aches and pains the following day.  Start your day with light stretches to open up your back and get your hamstrings and quads moving.  Or, for more aerobic activity, you could practice CPR for 10 minutes.
You can do squats, side lunges, lunges and twists to prepare your body to move.  Movement and agility are essential to your health and well-being and a great way to ward off pesky injuries that could require rest or even medical attention.
 
Choose the Right Gear 
When heading out for a workout, ensure you are prepared with the right clothes and equipment.  You're going to want to wear proper equipment such as helmets, lifejackets and knee and elbow pads. 
It's summer, and the sun will be at its hottest by mid-day, so choose the clothes you are going to wear outside carefully.  Light colours are a great choice, as they reflect light away and wear something thin that doesn't stick to you.  If you're willing to invest, choose moisture-wicking shirts and shorts to keep the heat away, and cotton and wool do not wick the moisture away.  If you're going for a run, ball caps will be your best friend, and athletic socks will help you avoid blisters.  What you wear this summer can help you avoid injuries, and sunburns.
 
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate 
Nothing is more important than ensuring you're adequately hydrated during the summer.  With the recurrent heat waves in many areas, it is important that you prepare yourself to avoid heat exhaustion or heatstroke. 
Whether you feel thirsty or not, have a bottle of water with you when exercising outside, especially if you're planning to do more than an hour-long strenuous activity in the sun. 
You may also consider sipping on a sports drink during the workout.  The potassium and electrolytes in the sports drink can rehydrate and replenish your body during a long workout.  If you don't have any on hand, water works just as well; however, be sure to drink water continuously when you're out. 
 
Don't Forget Sunscreen
Applying sunscreen is one of the most important components of a daily skincare routine.  People often forget to apply sunscreen, especially on overcast days. 
However, sunscreen acts as a barrier between the harmful UV rays from the sun and without it, you might end up with a painful sunburn, making it hard to move and sleep. 
There are many types of sunscreens that you can buy at drugstores or grocery stores.  Choose one with an SPF of at least 50, and if you plan to swim, or enjoy water sports, then something that is water-based. 
Remember to reapply sunscreen throughout the day.  It's the easiest way to prevent harmful sunburns.
 
Choose Your Workout Time Carefully
Another way to avoid heat exhaustion or heat stroke is carefully choosing your workout time.  Remember to choose a time when the sun is not at its full strength.  Try to avoid strenuous outdoor exercise between 11 am-3 pm. 
 
Know your Fitness Level
While it can be tempting to choose workouts that may challenge you during the summers, choosing activities within your fitness level is essential.  The last thing you want to do is to overheat your body by pushing it too hard, especially if you're new to working out.  Being conscious of your fitness level and not overdoing it helps ward off heat cramps, heat exhaustion and even heat stroke.  Take lots of breaks, reduce your intensity and drink lots of fluid.
 
Summer is a great time to get outside and enjoy the nice weather.  Take advantage of the nice weather when you can cause we all know it can ( and probably will) change in a  blink of an eye.  However, with that, you have to remember summers can mean intense heat, a higher likelihood of dehydration and more exhaustion.  So, while participating in various activities and workouts this summer, remember to keep yourself adequately hydrated, use sunscreen, wear appropriate safety gear, and carefully choose a time to exercise.  The best remedy is prevention.