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Aug 07, 2021

Summer activities: Tips from your Rehabilitation team

Summer activities: Tips from your Rehabilitation team
  • Ensure proper footwear (i.e. hiking shoes with ankle support).
  • To avoid or prevent blisters, wear socks and properly fitting shoes that are appropriate for the terrain you’ll be hiking as well as the weather conditions. You should also do your best to keep your feet dry.
  • If you are new to the activity start gradually and build up your distance/endurance.
  • Stretch ahead of time and after even if it is just for 5 minutes.
  • If you are finding your muscles tensing or cramping, take a break, stretch and ensure you are staying hydrated.
  • Stretching allows you to maintain flexible muscles and helps to relieve strain.
  • Pack safety equipment (i.e. whistle, proper footwear, first aid kit, compass).
  • Always look two steps ahead to avoid trips/slips.
  • Pace yourself.
  • If you have balance difficulties consider using nordic poles or a walking stick to help maintain your balance, stability and take the weight off injured joints to help increase walking tolerance.
  • For those who use a mobility aid or may have physical limitations, choose a location that is accessible so that you can still enjoy the outdoors (i.e. Island Lake; Elora Cataract Trailway).
  • Safety equipment: helmet; proper footwear (running shoes/sneakers); spare tire, portable pump, bell.
  • If your saddle is too high or too low, stress is placed on the knees and may cause hip or knee pain. Adjust your saddle height so you have almost straightened your knee with the ball of your foot over the pedal axle at its lowest position. Seek the advice of a professional bike fitter to determine the appropriate height for your saddle.
  • To prevent or remedy lower back pain, get into the habit of keeping your back straight, whether you are standing or riding. This will ease the pain and also improve your riding.
  • To prevent or reduce hand injuries observe how you are gripping the handlebars. The grip should be firm yet relaxed, change hand positions frequently, remember to keep your wrist straight and try padded gloves or handlebar tape to reduce the vibration.
  • To prevent or remedy shoulder pain, keep the elbows slightly flexed to stop ‘road shock’ transferring to the arms and upper body.
  • Stretch ahead of time reduce risk of injury, muscle sprain or strain.
  • Don't forget to cool down. Stretch after exercise to avoid muscle strain and fatigue the next day.
  • Remember, common causes of cycling-related injuries include incorrect riding postures and demanding too much of your body.
  • Obey rules of the road and use proper hand signals when turning or stopping.
  • Ensure visibility with reflective clothing and lights on the front and back of your bike.
  • Ride in single file in heavy traffic.
Water Safety (kayaking/canoeing/standup paddleboard):
  • To avoid strain on your back, seated paddlers must sit up straight and generate power by rotating the torso rather than relying entirely on arms. They key here is not to slouch in your seat.
  • If you find your muscles tensing, take rest breaks and consider switching which side you paddle on to avoid overuse of one side.
  • Wear a personal flotation device when using watercrafts.
  • Be mindful of the weather conditions and how quickly the water can change from calm to rough.
  • Avoid alcohol use when operating boats/kayaks/canoes/standup paddleboard.
  • Safety Equipment: Boat safety essential kit including a whistle, rope, flashlight, bailing device or bucket and extra paddle.
 For all outdoor activities:
  • Be mindful of sun safety tips - wear at least SPF 30, re-apply every 2 hours, wear a hat and be aware of the signs and symptoms of heat stroke/exhaustion.
  • Be bug safe - wear deet free bug spray.
  • Check yourself for ticks after any outdoor activity; consider bringing tweezers or a tick prevention kit with you on your adventures.
  • If you are new to the activity start gradually and build up your distance/endurance.
  • Stay hydrated to reduce risk of dehydration.
  • Let someone know your intended route and what time you think you’ll be back.
  • Pack identification and a mobile phone in case of emergencies.
  • If you have a pre-existing condition and are planning to start a new summer activity, it is best to consult with your physician first.
If you have any questions….
  • Consult your physiotherapist to help increase your mobility, relieve pain and build your strength and balance.
  • If you have a new mobility limitation or physical impairment preventing you from doing the activities you used to enjoy, consider consulting an Occupational Therapist to help adapt the activity, the environment or find new ways of doing the same activity.
  • If you have a pre-existing condition and are planning to start a new summer activity, it is best to consult with your physician first.