HealthSpan Wellness

In summer our thoughts turn to Canada’s great outdoors, and pursuits such as golfing, running or gardening.

Being active can help you maintain a healthy weight, 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 or a golf club, or pound the pavement in running shoes, the important thing is to get moving.

Keep your back in mind, as you gear up for a fun-filled summer. Here are some tips to keep your back healthy as you exercise and enjoy the great outdoors this summer.

1 Warm up

Before hitting the links or even the back garden, make sure you warm up. Do gentle stretches to limber up muscles and joints before lifting, digging or swinging that golf club.

2 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.

3 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.

4 Drink Fluids

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.

5 Don’t Overdo It

Don’t do too much, too soon or too fast. Take your time and work up your activity level slowly before pushing yourself too hard. This is especially true if you have been inactive all winter.

6 Cool Down

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.

7 Treat Injuries Promptly

If you suffer an injury or experience pain from your summer recreational activities, ice the area to reduce swelling and inflammation.

8 Seek Professional Help

If pain persists, consult a chiropractor or health care professional to help you with your recovery.