8 Steps to Prevent Overuse Injuries this Summer

prevent overuse injuries

Summertime is prime time to get your fitness routine in gear – either formally at the gym, around the local track, or recreationally at the golf course. We love to see it each year because exercise is one of the best things you can do for your body and mind. However, with that can come complications. We want to help you prevent summer overuse injuries.

There are two main types of fitness injuries we see as physical therapists. Their are traumatic injuries like a dislocated shoulder or broken bone.  The other is an injury that comes from damage that builds up over time.  A stiff back or sore elbow could be an overuse injury that comes from working too frequently or too intensely a particular area.  You may not see any visible signs, but your muscles and surrounding tissues still need to recover.

Try these tips that will help you stay active and prevent an overuse injury from creeping up this summer.

1. Schedule Rest Time

Your body grows stronger when you give it adequate time to heal between workouts or strenuous activities. Summer is peak season for many sports, so people often overtrain.  An overuse injury is often a forced break when you aren’t choosing to schedule adequate recovery time. If your training schedule leaves little time for rest, discuss additional strategies with a sports performance expert.

2. Vary Your Activities

Repetitive movements put more stress on your body because you keep using the same parts in the same way.  Try alternating exercises or work the body in a different way. For example, work your legs with box jumps for explosive power alternating with squats for muscle growth other days. Or alternate long runs with short sprints or strength training days.

3. Use Nutrition to Support Recovery

If you are fueling your body with the nutrients it needs to repair muscle, build new bone, and decrease inflammation you aren’t as likely to experience an injury.  Most of us need more protein and omega 3’s, but I can’t give you a specific prescription because you are unique. That is why we use Fitness & Nutrition DNA Testing to dial in exactly what your body needs to optimize your health and recover like a pro!

4. Refresh Your Equipment

Is your gear still the right size for you? Do your running shoes have holes? Are your flat feet asking for orthotics in your golf shoes? Has the grip on your racket seen better days? Be sure your equipment is in good working order, not worn down too much, offers proper support, and is the right size for your body.

5. Drink More Water

The heat of the summer can easily lead to dehydration.  What does this have to do with injury? Hydrated tissues (like muscles, tendons, and ligaments) are less likely to be injured.  So drink enough water and electrolytes to keep your tissues supple.

6. Build Up Gradually

Avoid pushing for too much too soon, especially in group settings. Respect where your body is starting out (were you a couch potato all winter and just now getting back to the gym?) and know you have time to get where you want to be.  Adding about 10% a week to your weight, distance, or speed works best for the average adult.

7. Avoid Popping Pain Medication

Pain medication can keep you from being able to listen to your body.  It masks symptoms that are trying to tell you that damage is occurring.  Of course, take medication when appropriate but don’t use it in order to keep exercising and cause further damage.

8. Listen to Your Body

Fun summer sports like pickleball or a game of pick up basketball can distract us from listening to our body.  If muscle tightness and soreness, or joint aches and stiffness, creep up during or after play consider that a signal that your body needs help.  Get your movement assessed by a professional before an injury occurs.  You won’t miss a beat on the court!

Sports and fitness activities should not leave you in pain and unable to walk for days.  The good news is that most overuse injuries can be prevented if you know the signs and take action promptly.

Do you feel like you already have an injury creeping up? Let’s not wait until your sidelined in a boot or sling.  Take action now to stay strong and fit with proper recovery. Talk to one of our orthopedic experts today to get a personalized prevention or recovery plan for your overuse injuries.  REQUEST A CALL by clicking HERE!

Simple Steps Toward Lifelong Brain Health

Brain Health

Just as our physical body changes over time, it’s natural to see changes in our brain as well. Fortunately, it’s also true that we can maintain our cognitive fitness in similar ways that we maintain physical fitness.  At any age, lifestyle choices play a major role in how well we think, feel, learn, react, and remember. Each day, we can take simple steps toward lifelong brain health.

Failing brain health is a public health epidemic. Research shows that 3 out of 5 Americans will develop a brain disease in their lifetime. If we add emotional well being and mental focus to the brain health equation, I’d say we are close to 100% of individuals that will at some point have concern about how efficiently their brain is working.

Right now you may have no concerns and this is where the problem starts – we take our brain for granted.  Now is the time to start implementing strategies to keep it in tip top shape.

Already have concerns? Then these tips can help you as well.  The goal is to achieve your best brain at the stage of life you are in. The result, to have more success in relationships and business, overcome obstacles and be resilient to tough life circumstances, and continue to complete your daily activities independently for as long as the rest of your body will keep up.

Try these suggestions for taking care of your brain starting today.

 

1. Exercise Regularly

Physical activity delivers more oxygen to your brain and helps form new neural connections. Exercise boosts happy hormones as well as helps to relieve physical and emotional effects of stress. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week.

2. Eat Healthy Fats

About 60% of the brain is made of fat.  That means fatty acids from foods like fish, nuts, olives, and avocado are needed for optimal functioning.  Specifically omega 3 fats have been shown to decrease cognitive decline, improve focus, and reduce rates of depression.

3. Sleep Well

We all know the feeling of brain fog when we don’t sleep well, but did you know your memory and learning capacity actually grow stronger while you sleep. Go to bed and wake up on a regular schedule and talk with a healthcare provider if you are having trouble getting quality sleep.

4. Address Chronic Conditions

Many physical health issues like obesity, diabetes, autoimmune disease, and high blood pressure can impact your brain.  Schedule regular screenings for these health markers and seek solutions to move back in the right direction when those numbers creep up.

5. Stay Connected

Block out time to spend with family and friends. Social ties help to slow the rate of memory decline and enhance mental and emotional health outcomes. Add some laughter to the situation and the brain boosting effects become even more powerful.

6. Express Creativity

Making art raises serotonin levels, while music enhances brain function. Experiment with different hobbies to find something you enjoy. The good news is that you don’t have to have artistic talent, you will see benefits regardless of your skill level.

7. Relax and Reflect

Relaxation reduces inflammation in the brain and helps it work more efficiently.  Forms of reflection could include prayer, mediation, a walk in nature, deep breathing, yoga, or listening to music.  Find what works best for you and savor the present moment.

8. Change Your Self Talk

Don’t speak to yourself in a way that you wouldn’t speak to a close friend.  Make your inner dialogue compassionate and encouraging. Don’t forget to give yourself credit for the small steps you take toward a better you.

This list might appear overwhelming, but addressing just one area can begin to reduce your risk of cognitive decline. And the investment is definitely worth it – keeping your brain healthy will help you to lead a longer and more rewarding life.

If chronic pain, injuries, or illness are keeping you from being able to any of the above, we have experts to help you overcome these obstacles.  Let’s work together to make summer 2023 YOUR TIME to TAKE BACK the health of your mind & body.  Click HERE to learn more about how we can help, or go directly to our Schedule to Book a Virtual Strategy Session.