In the summer months, we turn our attention to the great outdoors with activities, such as golfing, gardening or running.
Being active can help you maintain your flexibility and good posture, build strong bones, and relieve stress. Recreational activities are a great way to enjoy these benefits while having fun. Whether you pick up a garden rake, a golf club or pound the pavement in running shoes, the important thing is to get moving.
Remember to keep your back in mind, as you gear up for a fun-filled summer.
Eight tips to keep your back healthy as you exercise and enjoy the great outdoors this summer
Before hitting the links or even the back garden, consider a short activity to warm up first, like going for a short walk. Make sure to do gentle stretches to limber up muscles and joints before lifting, digging or swinging that golf club.
Learn the Proper Technique
Learn the correct technique for your activity, right from the beginning. Poor technique can cause injury to joints and muscles. For example, be sure to kneel, not bend, when planting your garden. For golfers, take professional lessons to rid yourself of bad habits in your golf swing that could hurt your back.
Maximize Your Flexibility
Maintaining good mobility for muscles and joints will contribute to your athletic ability and help prevent injury. Restrictions in muscle and joint function can hamper your technique and lead to strains and sprains. If you are a runner, take the time to stretch out calf and thigh muscles before hitting the road.
Drink plenty of fluids before, during and after physical activity. Remember that once you are thirsty, you are already starting to dehydrate. Dehydration affects your energy level and your physical functioning.
Don’t Overdo It
If you have a big day of yard work planned, consider breaking up different activities into smaller chunks to avoid overloading your body. With a return to summer sports, consider a smaller training session first rather than a longer one (ie a trip to the driving range before that first round of golf).
Cooling down after any physical activity is just as important as warming up. Take 20 minutes for a brisk walk or a slow jog, and stretch out your muscles and joints before heading for the shower.
Treat Injuries Promptly
If you suffer an injury or experience pain from your summer recreational activities, ice the area to reduce swelling and inflammation.
Seek Professional Help
If pain persists, consult a chiropractor or health care professional, such as a chiropractor, to help you with your recovery. In Ontario, you don’t need a referral to see a chiropractor.
To find a chiropractor near you, use the chiropractor locator on our website. In Ontario, you can visit a chiropractor without a referral from a doctor, nurse practitioner or other health care professional. If you already have a chiropractor and/or another health care professional, join our Partnership4BetterHealth online patient advisory community. Then, you can share your ideas on how to enhance chiropractic services and make a positive impact on our health care system. It’s confidential, free, and always your choice to participate.