Enjoying Summer Safely – Katherine Ghyzel, PT, DPT

It’s finally here! After a long, difficult winter we all want and deserve the beautiful weather that comes with a New England Summer. For many of us, with the nice weather comes an increase in the amount of exercise we are performing (outdoor walks, biking, hiking, etc.). We are all ready to get some sun & some more activity, here are some things to remember:

1. Plan ahead – whether it is a walk, hike, run, bike make sure you have a plan on how far to go & have packed accordingly. For example, if you have only been walking household distances, start slowly by just walking down your street or to the mailbox and then slowly increase your distances. That way if you need to take a break, grab some water, or if you are having any pain, a place to rest or take a break is close by.

2. Make sure you stay hydrated! A lot of us do not realize we are not drinking enough water – you should try to drink 3.7 L as a male & 2.7 L as a female per day (according to the Institute of Medicine).

3. Don’t forget the sunscreen – the American Academy of Dermatology recommends that sunscreen is applied every 2 hours when you are outside to all skin surfaces not covered by clothing. They also recommend the SPF be 30 or higher to be effective.

4. Wear appropriate shoes- it is easy to leave the house & go on a walk in your flip flops; but these shoes often do not provide enough support- especially if you are having any low back, hip, or knee/ankle pain. Even though it takes a little longer, your body will thank you for the extra support!

Here are some good exercises that can be performed outside:
1. Walking- there are some great trails around you- some of my favorites are Gates Pond in Hudson, Callahan State Park in Framingham, and Delaney Pond/Watershed in Bolton
2. Biking- don’t forget to wear your helmet and have proper reflective gear especially at night
3. Strength Exercises listed below:
a. Sit to Stands (or squats)
b. Side steps (with or without a band around your knees or ankles)
c. Walking Lunges
d. Single leg stances to work on your balance

All in all, make sure you are getting outside & enjoying the beautiful summer!