One of the reasons people buy real estate in Summit County, CO is that there are so many things to do and see…the activities are endless.
However, with high altitude fun and activity can sometimes come injury, which is why I’m bringing in a guest blogger for several of my upcoming Autumn and Winter blog posts: to give you tips on staying happy and healthy in the high country, whether you live here part-time or year round.
My guest blogger is a full-time physical therapist, Jennifer Birrer, DPT, who has been living and working in Summit County for 2 years, and in Colorado for 8 years. Jenn specializes in sports medicine, manual therapy, treatment of the spine, and is certified in Pilates for fitness.
Hi everyone this is Jenn, and today I want to talk about how to prevent injuries during those fall activities that we love.
In Summit County, the typical fall activities are biking, mountain biking, hiking, running, boating/sailing, and just good old-fashioned sight seeing and walking. With a little extra work, you can prevent injury and enjoy those activities throughout the season.
The first, and probably the most important, piece of injury prevention is rest. I know it sounds a little odd to say that you can be better at activity by resting, but it’s true. Especially when you are active and moving, sleep is extremely important. We have all heard or read that doctors recommend at least 8 hours of sleep, and when you are participating activities, you need that sleep in order to recover.
Rest also means taking days off. That doesn’t necessarily mean sitting on the couch all day (but you are welcome to do that if it’s what makes you smile)! It’s important to give your body days of rest after high activity days. For example, if you go on a long bike ride or a long hike on Monday, consider just a light walk through Frisco Main Street or a short walk with the dog on Tuesday. This keeps your body moving, but doesn’t demand high intensity multiple days in a row.
The second important piece in injury prevention is stretching. We’ve all heard this a million times, but for some reason I don’t think anyone listens. If you’re going out for a run, stretch your legs and your back. If you’re going out sailing or kayaking, stretch your arms and your back. Whatever major muscle groups will be working, plus your back and core, need to ideally be stretched before and after activity. Visit http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/fitness.asp for great links to different stretches and exercises for all the major muscle groups.
Last, it’s important to know your limits! Here in Summit County, activities vary from very low-level beginner to downright extreme. It’s common for people to feel the need to take it to another level or to go outside of their comfort zone, and this is when the worst injuries happen. There is no shame in starting at the beginning and working up to the harder levels with any activity—especially if it means you get to continue for the rest of the season. If your gut is telling you it’s too much, or if you’re just plain afraid, then you probably shouldn’t be doing it. Know your personal limits and activity level, and stick to it. It’s definitely always better to be safe and avoid visiting me for physical therapy!
So stretch, rest, and listen to your gut. Have fun out there, and be safe!