Injury Prevention 104: Play
Whether your idea of “play” is gym time, cycling, or hanging out at home, this post will focus on some general steps you can take to make your free time safer for your spine.
Always use proper form when working out. Whether you’re lifting heavy, running long (or short) distances, or doing an aerobics class, always pay attention to your posture. A good rule of thumb is this: if you’re unable to maintain proper form/posture while performing an exercise, your body isn’t ready to do that particular activity. Maybe you need to work on flexibility or core strength or endurance…whatever the case may be, continuing an exercise with poor form will set you up for eventual injury.
Always wear proper gear. Cycling? Wear a helmet. Ensure that your children wear a helmet. Running? Buy properly fitting shoes and replace them regularly. Check your children’s shoes twice as often so they aren’t running in shoes that are too small.
Maintain proper nutrition and hydration. Busy lifestyles make it easy to forget to eat to fuel your workouts, which can set you up for hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) which increases your risk of injury. Staying hydrated is also very important, especially if you’re outside. Even if it’s not hot outside, you can still become dehydrated.
If you’re relaxing at home, try to use healthy sitting posture or change positions frequently to avoid developing poor posture.
Always make sure equipment is assembled correctly and check it regularly for wear and tear. Exercise equipment and backyard playground equipment can cause injury if they are assembled incorrectly or are not checked regularly for damage.