Here are 5 ways to prevent getting injured during the summer and some information about Headspace, a great way to relax and clear your mind!
- Wear supportive shoes: It is so easy to slip into stylish flip-flops and flimsy shoes in the summer. However, when your foot is not supported, you have poor alignment in your spine, hips, knees, and ankles. This leads to injury anywhere from the bottom of your foot up to your low back. I see it all the time and it is such an easy fix! Flip-flops are not a problem for short periods of time and if you are not doing much walking, but they are not good for all day wear or long walks. Put on your sneakers or something with arch and heel support for happy feet, legs, and a healthy spine.
- Go swimming: If you are lucky, you have access to a pool year round. However, many of us can only get in the water during the summer. Swimming is amazing for our joints and muscles – a great way to exercise as well as recover. On a hot day, a cool dip will do wonders for your body. Pool therapy is huge in physical therapy, and there is no question why.
- Bring a healthy side dish: Many people are attending BBQ’s, potlucks, family gatherings, and other social events during the summer. While hot dogs, ice cream, and other summer foods are fine once in a while, a great way to insure you get some healthy nutrients is to bring something to the party that is full of color and quality ingredients. I am fortunate that my family always provided nutritious choices, but I often find some places do not have dishes that give me the energy I need. My favorite contribution is fruit salad, but other sides such as grain salads or green leafy salads are great options too! Good nutrition is key for minimizing inflammation in your body and preventing injuries.
- Rest: I find it is easy to go overboard with summer activities because there is always something to do. I have no problem cuddling up by the fire to rest during the winter, but I am much more on the go during the summer and I am frequently on my feet the entire day. Whether it is watering the garden, preparing a nice meal, taking the dogs for a walk, cleaning the yard, or doing other chores, I have a hard time stopping to rest! Taking a few minutes for a quick nap or putting my legs up to read can make a big difference in my energy levels and ability to recover so I am ready for what is next. Without rest, we can fall into overtraining and set ourselves up for injury.
- Relax: Summer can be so much fun, but it also can be a stressful time for some people. You might have a hard time relaxing if you have a lot of travel to do, concerns about hot weather, or having too many events to go to. I love going on vacation, but it also makes me anxious and I get concerned about flights and being away from home. Having too much stress in your life put you at a higher risk for injury. I have found meditation through Headspace to be a great outlet for me to reframe my thinking and help me relax when times get tough or I get worried.
Meditation often comes with a bad connotation. Many people believe mediation is not for them, takes too much time, and will not work. I used to think I did not have the patience to sit and listen to my breathing, observe my thoughts, and work towards changing how I managed them. Just recently, I have opened my mind to changing these views and using meditation to become a better person. I have found I can clear my head much easier now than before, and I am able to focus on what matters – not what concerns me.
Headspace is a website and app you can download on your phone with guided meditations. It walks you through daily recordings with a variety of topics including sleep, stress, productivity, competition, etc. The free beginner pack is 10 days of 3-5 minute mediations. Access to the whole library costs a fee, but there are tons of choices and each meditation is about 10 minutes. Sometimes I still have a hard time stopping everything I am doing to sit down and just breathe for 10 minutes, but it really makes a difference in my daily life.
For more information on Headspace, here are some great videos:
Underlying Calm (a great analogy between our minds and blue sky vs. stormy clouds)
Changing Perspective (another great analogy between our minds and viewing traffic)
Have you tried Headspace or meditation? How do you prevent injury and stay healthy during the summer?