4 Simple Tips for Summer Safety
Dr Nguyen Vu Dinh PT, DPT
Although summer officially just started, it’s definitely felt like summer here in Central Florida for a few weeks now! The temperature has been up and there is no lack of sunshine! So while you are enjoying the outdoors during this time with your friends and family, here are 4 tips in keeping yourself safe and reducing risk of injury.
1. Hydration- The importance of hydration cannot be stressed enough and is one of the most important factors in keeping yourself safe during the summer. Frequent hydration keeps your body temperature down keeps your performance up.
It’s estimated that upto 30% of work capacity or performance can be loss in moderate levels of dehydration. This is due to the heart working harder to circulate less body fluid volume and the body reaching dangerous temperature levels causing the body shutting down among other physiologic reasons. Extreme cases of dehydration can lead to heat stroke and heart conditions.
If you find yourself participating in the sun and heat for long periods of time, or are a heavy sweater, it’s a good idea to hydrate with a drink that includes electrolytes. Just take note of the sugar content.
Signs of dehydration include loss of energy, dizziness, or feeling faint and sluggish.
2. Sun protection- Protection against the sun on our body reduces your risk for skin cancers. Additionally, it will keep your skin hydrated and combat the signs of aging.
Sunscreens- Lots of different brands and different SPF, UVA, UVB levels out there that can be confusing. Choose at least an SPF > 15 and these properties will also give some UVA/UVB protection. However, just because and SPF has a high number doesn’t necessarily mean it will give you longer protection. Regardless of SPF level, rule of thumb is to re-apply at minimum every 2 hours.
Clothing- There are lots of technology in clothing these day. Athletic or performance clothing serves a dual purpose of wicking away moisture or sweat, and has skin protection against the sun- UPF. You should still you sunscreen.
Sunglasses- Don’t forget about your eyes! Not only do sunglasses allow you to see better in bright light allowing your pupils to stay open, but also protect against the sun’s UV rays. Just make sure that there is stated UV protection, as without, sunglasses can actually be more harmful to your eyes.
Shade- Take a break from the sun and shelter under the shade. The shade provides protection against the harmful rays of the sun, and will feel much cooler at about 10-15 degrees them being in the direct sunlight.
3. Cool down- After moderate levels of activity or exercise during the summer, cooling down is even more important. This reduces your risk of muscle injuries and allows for your body as a whole to return to a steady recovery state safety- gradual lowering of your heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature.
It doesn’t have to be much and doesn’t have to take a long time, even just 10 minutes is sufficient. I recommend general stretches to the muscles that were most stressed by the activity, reducing the intensity of the activity-ie swimming slower, or something as simple as walking. This keeps your blood flowing actively and will help you recover faster.
4. Time of day- If you are able to, choose times of the day that limit your exposure to the difficult elements of the day- effect of the sun and high temperature. This way, your safety risks are reduced. However, still make sure you incorporate tips 1 and 2 from above.
Since cycling is my main sport, I have found that 5AM workouts beat the elements of the summer, although I sweat much more with the 90%+ humidity. Lots of fluid for me for these short and intense workouts.
If you have or are experiencing pain on the bike, you can download my free report and learn more about typical bike related pain. Go here to get your copy and take it with you: https://www.momentumphysicaltherapywellness.com/cycling-pain