Protecting Your Joints in Summer
For many people, summer is the most active time of the year. It can be hard to resist heading outside to do any number of activities, from mowing the lawn to strolling in the park. Summer is also the season of golf, beach volleyball, swimming, and more. No one wants to be cooped up indoors when the sun is shining and there isn’t a cloud in the sky – but you might be if you don’t take care of your joints. Here are some easy methods of protecting them in order to prevent injury.
Stretch Before Doing Anything Active
The number one thing that you need to remember to do is stretch. Stretching loosens the ligaments and gets your muscles ready for any number of activities. Stiff joints end up getting hurt. You might feel weird doing them, especially if you’re the only one in your group stretching out before that golf game, but your knees, hips, back, and shoulders will thank you. Thankfully, you only need to hold each stretch for around 15 seconds, which is just enough to get your body ready for motion.
Do Some Warm-Up Exercises
Speaking of getting ready for movement, you should also do a few warm-up exercises. Like stretching, they loosen up the joints and will prevent you from getting injured. Do a few deep knee lifts, run in place for a few minutes, and then bust out the jumping jacks. If you can get some of your friends to do it as well, then you won’t feel as though you’re acting strangely at all. In fact, everyone should do these activities, especially since they don’t want to get hurt either.
Use Wraps If You Need Additional Stability
If you already have injured joints and are worried about them getting worse, then use compression sleeves or ace bandage wraps on them. Wrapping your knee will give you some extra stability and it will make that area of your body feel stronger. You’re much less likely to overextend or strain your joints if you have them protected in this manner. In addition, if you’re worried about sweating through the wraps (and who isn’t, on a hot day) find ones that are breathable. This will allow some air through, keeping you from overheating and sweating in that area. Your knees, ankles, elbows, and wrists can all be wrapped in this manner.
Ice Your Joints If They Start to Hurt
One final thing that you can do in order to protect your joints in the summertime in to know when to stop. If your knees start to hurt, stop pushing yourself. Sit down, relax, and then ice that part of your body. Remember that pain equals injury. If you continue moving through the pain, then things will only get worse, and you’ll find yourself sitting out on the sidelines or on your couch while everyone else has fun. It helps to keep a few ice packs in your freezer, just in case you begin to hurt.