Whether having fun, staying in shape or pushing your physical capacity to the extreme, the summer is a great time to enjoy your physical health and move more. Swimming and training for or participating in a marathon or triathalon can be rewarding activities -- and can stay fun with the proper preparation and form. Orthopaedic surgeons offer athletes of all levels safety tips for popular warm weather fun.
Swimming is a great form of exercise and an even better way to cool off on those hot, summer days. It builds endurance and muscle strength, too.
The most common swimming injury is shoulder pain due to repetitive motion. The best way to prevent this is with a general exercise program to strengthen the muscles around the shoulder and upper back.
If diving off a cliff or other high point, make sure the bottom of the body of water is double the distance from which you're diving. For example, if you plan to dive from eight feet above the water, make sure the bottom of the body of water, or any rocks, boulders or other impediments are at least 16 feet under water.
Only one person at a time should stand on a diving board. Dive only off the end of the board and do not run on the board. Do not try to dive far out or bounce more than once. Swim away from the board immediately afterward to make room for the next diver.
Refrain from body surfing near the shore since this activity results in many cervical spine injuries, some with quadriplegia, as well as shoulder dislocations and humeral fractures. Extreme Sport Training
A recent study surveyed participants in a major city's marathon asking them if they sustained injuries during their training process. Fifty-eight percent reported they had been injured during this process, most of them reporting injuries to the knee, hip, ankle, shins or foot.
Plan a progressive training program to prevent injuries. A five-minute warm-up (which should raise your temperature by one degree) followed by stretching exercises, is essential before starting a distance session. Following the workout, stretching again is important.
Run, bike or swim in the shade, if possible, to avoid direct sun and make a conscious commitment to staying hydrated.
Do not run or bike at night, and at dusk or dawn wear reflective material. Don't wear a headset while training as you'll be less likely to notice safety threats.
Avoid running on hills, which increases stress on the ankle and foot. When running on curved surfaces, change directions in forward movement, so that you have even pressure on both feet during the run.
Always wear a helmet when biking and consider wearing knee, wrist and elbow pads to protect bones and joints when falling.
Cross training can provide a "total body tune-up," something you won't get if you concentrate on just one type of activity.