During the summer season, many of us are drawn to outdoor activities like golfing, gardening, and running. Engaging in these recreational activities not only allows us to enjoy the outdoors but also promotes mobility, strengthens bones, and helps alleviate stress. To ensure you have a healthy and enjoyable summer, it’s essential to take care of your back. In this article, we will explore eight tips to keep your back healthy while you exercise and enjoy outdoor pursuits.
1 – Warm-up: Before embarking on any physical activity, it is crucial to warm up your body. Consider starting with a short walk or engaging in light movements to prepare your muscles and joints. Additionally, incorporate gentle stretching exercises to limber up your body before lifting, digging, or swinging a golf club.
2 – Learn the Proper Technique: Learning the correct technique for your chosen activity is vital from the outset. Poor technique can lead to joint and muscle injuries. For instance, when gardening, remember to kneel instead of bending, which can strain your back. Golfers should consider taking professional lessons to correct any bad habits in their swing that may contribute to back pain.
3 – Maximize Mobility and Range of Motion: Maintaining good mobility and range of motion in your muscles and joints is essential for athletic performance and injury prevention. Limited mobility can hinder your technique and increase the risk of strains and sprains. Runners, for example, should allocate time to stretch their calf and thigh muscles before hitting the road.
4 – Drink Fluids: Staying properly hydrated is crucial for overall health and physical performance. Ensure you drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after your physical activities. Remember, once you feel thirsty, dehydration has already begun to set in. Adequate hydration helps maintain energy levels and optimizes physical function.
5 – Don’t Overdo It: To prevent overloading your body, especially during intense yard work, consider breaking your activities into smaller, manageable tasks. When returning to summer sports, gradually increase your training duration rather than jumping into long sessions right away. For golfers, a visit to the driving range before the first round can help ease back into the sport.
6 – Cool Down: Just as warming up is crucial, cooling down after physical activity is equally important. Allocate around 20 minutes for a brisk walk or a slow jog after your exercise session. During this time, perform stretching exercises to promote muscle and joint recovery before heading for a shower.
7 – Treat Injuries Promptly: In the unfortunate event of an injury or experiencing pain during recreational activities, it is essential to address it promptly. Applying ice to the affected area can help reduce swelling and inflammation. Resting and allowing time for recovery are equally important.
8 – If Pain Persists, Seek Professional Help: If you continue to experience significant pain or discomfort in your spine, muscles, or joints, it may indicate an underlying injury. In such cases, it is advisable to seek professional help. Chiropractors, who specialize in musculoskeletal health, can identify the issue, provide appropriate treatment, and offer guidance on staying active. In Ontario, you can visit a chiropractor without a referral from a medical doctor, nurse practitioner, or other healthcare professional.
As you embark on your summer fitness journey and engage in outdoor activities, prioritizing your back health is crucial for an enjoyable and injury-free experience. By incorporating these eight tips into your routine, including warming up, learning proper technique, maximizing mobility, staying hydrated, avoiding overexertion, cooling down, promptly treating injuries, and seeking professional help when needed, you can ensure a healthy and active summer season. Remember, maintaining a healthy back will contribute to your overall well-being and allow