Why is Gut Health Important & How to Improve itSummer is a great time to get active and have some fun! But before you head outside, it's important to take precautions to avoid getting hurt. In this blog post, we'll discuss some tips for avoiding sports injuries this summer. Whether you're playing soccer, swimming, or just taking a jog around the block, following these summer injury prevention tips can help keep you safe and injury-free!

Fuel Your Body

Before participating in any physical activity, it's important to fuel your body with the right nutrients. Eating a healthy meal or snack beforehand will give you the energy you need to perform your best. Make sure to include complex carbohydrates and protein in your meal to help repair and rebuild muscle tissue, like:

  • Whole grain bread or pasta
  • Brown rice 
  • Beans
  • Lean meats
  • Fish
  • Eggs 
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Fruits and vegetables

In addition to eating a nutritious meal, it's also important to stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water before and after, and be sure to bring a water bottle with you when you head out for your activity. For more intense activities, sports drinks can also be helpful in replenishing the electrolytes that you'll lose while sweating.

Come Prepared

Another way to avoid sports injuries is to come prepared with the proper gear in good condition. Depending on the activity you're participating in, you'll need different types of equipment. For instance, if you're a runner, it's important to have good running shoes with proper support and shock absorption. If you prefer to bike, make sure to check your tires and brakes before heading out.

Plus, if you'll be enjoying the summer sun, make sure to bring sunglasses and sunscreen with you! Wearing SPF 30 or higher will help protect your skin from harmful UV rays. Sunscreen should be applied 15-30 minutes before going outside and reapplied every two hours, especially after swimming or sweating.

Always Warm Up & Cool Down

Before starting any physical activity, it's important to warm up your muscles. This helps prepare your body for the upcoming activity by gradually increasing your heartbeat and getting your muscles ready for a higher-intensity workout. A simple warm-up could include walking or light jogging for five to ten minutes, followed by some dynamic stretching to improve your range of motion and flexibility.

By warming up properly, you decrease the likelihood of getting injured. However, after your activity, it's just as important to cool down with some light walking and some more stretches. This allows your heart rate and blood pressure to return to normal gradually, which can also help prevent dizziness or fainting. Plus, giving your body the tools to recover in this way can help prevent stiffness or soreness later on!

Try Something New

Another way to prevent injuries is by switching up your activities, or cross-training, and luckily, summer is the perfect time to try something new! If you typically run, try swimming or biking instead. Or if you're used to playing tennis, try your hand at golf.

Cross-training works by using different muscle groups than what you're used to using. This not only helps to prevent injuries by giving overused muscles a break, but it can also improve your overall fitness level and help you become a better athlete. Plus, it can also be a fun way to explore your interests and meet new people!

However, before you jump in, it's important to do your research first. Make sure you understand the proper technique for your new chosen activity and start slowly at first. As with any new physical activity, there's always a risk of injury when you don't know what you're doing. But by doing some research beforehand and taking it slow, you can help reduce that risk and have a fun and active summer!

Remember To Take A Time-Out

If you played sports in a recreational league as a child, or if you have a child currently playing in a league, you might remember taking breaks every once in a while, maybe to eat orange slices. Well, those time-outs are important for more than just rehydrating and refueling—they're also crucial for preventing sports injuries!

In order to reduce the risk of sports injuries, it's important to take breaks throughout your activity. This gives your body a chance to recover and can help prevent overuse injuries. Make sure to take a few minutes every hour or so to walk around, drink some water, get out of the sun, and maybe even do a few stretches.

Lastly, it's important to listen to your body. Even if you're not due for a break, if you're feeling pain or discomfort, stop what you're doing and rest. It's better to stop what you're doing and check in with yourself than risk any summer injuries that could sideline you for the rest of the season!

Know When To Get Help

Even if you take all the necessary precautions, sometimes injuries happen. And when they do, it's important to know when to seek medical help.

If you experience any of the following symptoms, it's time to pay your Prima CARE doctor a visit:

  • severe pain that doesn't go away with rest or ice
  • swelling that gets worse or does not improve
  • bruising that continues to spread or gets worse
  • numbness or tingling
  • loss of range of motion
  • inability to put weight on the affected area

If you're ever unsure about whether or not you should seek medical attention, it's always better to be safe and make an appointment with your doctor. Depending on the kind and severity of the injury, physical therapy or orthopedic surgery may be recommended. By consulting with your doctor, you can get the treatment you need to make a full recovery and get back to your summer activities as soon as possible!

At Prima CARE, our expert primary care physicians, physical therapists, and orthopedic surgeons are focused on providing you with the targeted treatment you need to correct your injury, make a full recovery, and get back to the things you love. Schedule your appointment today!