This article was written by the Clinton Hospital Marketing
It's summertime. School is out and vacations are definitely in! But before
your family dives into those physical summer activities, it is a good idea to
take a few minutes to prepare your bodies for the fun. While the warm weather
might entice us to get off the couch and take up a new sport, it is important to
know that at every age, our bodies have limitations and not all activities are
appropriate for every person.
Sporting injuries do not discriminate. At age 5 or 55, if you push your body
too far, it is going to push back. Broken arms, wrists, elbows and ankles rate
as the most common summertime injuries to grace the office of an orthopedic
physician and some activities are certainly more susceptible to causing injury
than others. For example, monkey bars pose an enormous threat for falls and are
largely responsible for a high number of elbow injuries in children. Bike riding
is also to blame for its fair share of summer injuries, resulting in a more than
a few broken wrists and arms in children and adults alike. And while other
activities may seem benign, even something as simple as going for a run can land
you in a doctor's office if you are not careful.
So what can you do? Not to worry. You do not need to lock your family inside
the house this summer. There is a much easier way to avoid summer sports
injuries. In many cases, about 10 minutes of stretching before an activity will
help athletes of all ages avoid injury, and stretching is especially important
for those weekend warriors who are not physically active on a routine basis and
need to loosen up their muscles slightly more.
And although many people are already aware of the importance of stretching,
it may come as a surprise that it is equally important for one to get into
cardio shape before participating in an activity. Thirty minutes of aerobic
exercise is ideal: dedicating five minutes to increase one's heart rate, 20
minutes to sustain that heart rate and the final five minutes to cool down. This
form of warm up increases one's balance and helps improve muscle coordination,
thus cutting down on missteps and what could be avoidable injuries.
As New Englanders, we wait all year to enjoy these cherished summer months.
So go ahead, put down that remote control, get outdoors and enjoy. With a quick
warm up and a little caution you will be ready for some big summer fun!
Michael Elman, MD, is an orthopedic surgeon within the Department of
Orthopedics at Clinton Hospital. Dr. Elman specializes in sports medicine as
well as arthroscopic surgery, compressive neuropathy, fractures, reconstructive
surgery and tendon injuries.. He is available at Clinton Hospital for outpatient
appointments by calling, 978-368-3760.