A six-pack of tips to avoid summer sports injuries

Summer is a time like no other to get outside and enjoy regular physical activity.
Unfortunately, lots and lots of activities for people also mean an increase in injuries. Sprains, strains, joint injuries, fractures and dislocations are the most common sports-related injuries.
Here are six tips to avoid being laid up long-term inside on the couch:
1 Stretch – Stretch and loosen up gradually before and after any strenuous activities to loosen up muscles. It will help your muscles, ligaments and tendons be more elastic.
2 Use proper protective gear – Even in the hot summer months, make sure to wear protective gear such as mouth guards, helmets and pads that are appropriate for your sport.
3 Don’t try too much, too soon – Know your limits and gradually increase your training load. For instance, don’t try to run a 10K race until your comfortable doing a 5K.
4 Stay hydrated – Drink lots of liquid before, during and after an activity to avoid becoming dehydrated.
5 Wear sunscreen – Don’t forget the sunscreen!
Skin cancer is a very underrated cancer, but is much more common than people think and can have serious consequences if a malignant melanoma spreads.
6 Know when to say when – Listen to the pain and go to the sidelines if you suffer an injury.
Continuing to play, bike or hike could make an injury worse.
Remember to ice injuries to help prevent a minor injury from becoming a serious one.

At Home Fitness consultant Aaron Dorksen’s blog deals with a variety of fitness topics, ranging from workout tips, motivational ideas and feature stories on how exercise impacts people’s lives. E-mail him with comments, questions or ideas for future blogs at aaron@athomefitness.com