Avoid Summer Injuries with Preventative Maintenance

With its warm temperatures and thriving greenery, summertime has a knack for kick-starting us to get motivated and to get moving.

For many of us, running outdoors feels only natural. Like an unquenchable thirst, we are left feeling dry and depleted if we do not drink (or in this case, run).  For others, the act becomes a new journey inwards towards resilience and self-discovery. The physical endurance certainly plays an important role, but it is the mental endurance that becomes the most rewarding.

Others start biking through the streets and our scenic River Valley with a vengeance, nostalgic for their childhood days of endorphin-pumping speed. Remember the days when as a child you jumped on your bike at the crack of dawn and would only peddle your deadened little limbs back in time for supper? To us as children, a bike equalled freedom.

Roller-bladders and skateboarders come out in droves to test their skills on the roads. Some riders glide along with ease and the kind of fluidity that only comes with practice and learned assurance. The more adventurous ones race, while some even trick with jumps and moves often reserved for the circus!

Whatever your chosen mode of transportation, these types of summer exercises have the innate ability to transform you for a couple of hours. Zig-zagging your way through downtown, you become an urban warrior as yesterday’s business meeting falls off your shoulders. Or perhaps somewhere along your off-roading adventure through wooden areas and open clearings, you become the Zen Master of your own Universe.

Living in a climate lucky enough to have seasons, (or unlucky, based on how you look at it!) it is natural to assume that for many of us, our exercise regime gets kicked into high gear with the emergence of spring and summer. It is for this very reason that it is of great importance to establish strong preventative maintenance habit s to ensure that you protect yourself from creating imbalances in your body and succumbing to injury.

The most common types of body imbalances and injuries that I see this time of year are…

-tight IT bands from running

-a sore and achy low back from exercising without the support of strong core muscles

-knee problems ranging from swelling to grinding to a deep, internal aching in the joint capsule

-tight glutes (your butt muscles), which can cause piriformis syndrome, low back pain or sciatica

-tight hip flexors, which can cause back, knee and ankle issues

-sacro-iliac joint issues irritated by running and jumping

A tough pill for many of our patients to swallow is the reality that the majority of these injuries could have been properly managed and successfully corrected with preventative maintenance. Upon realizing that most of these injuries could have been easily prevented with the proper care, the experience encourages many of these individuals to start treating their bodies like they do their vehicles. With regular tune-ups, oil changes and tire rotations!

Our injuries rarely tend to be perfectly symmetrical, meaning that every imbalance happening in our bodies has the very real potential of setting off a cascading chain-reaction. Since the body has a tendency to work via spasms, any tight muscle can set off another tight muscle, and so on and so on. Tightening of the muscles throws the balance of the body off kilter, and then the body has to make unnatural adjustments to correct that particular problem.

Scheduling regular visits to see your acupuncturist and massage therapist nips these problems in the bud, before they begin affecting other areas of the body. By utilizing different methods such as massage, sliding cupping, needling, IMS, myofascial release, trigger therapy, etc., we can help keep you healthy and on the road to your next adventure!


About Chris Tse

I’m a scientist turned owner of Blitz Conditioning, a Fitness Columnist at CBC Radio on Thursdays at 8:20 am, and owner of Tse Social Strategy. Follow me on Twitter or Read my full bio.

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