Injury Prevention for Water Sports
Throughout the summer, many people head to the nearest lake, river, or beach for some fun in the sun. Water sports such as kayaking, canoeing, and stand-up paddleboarding are fun and relaxing ways to spend time outdoors. But, being able to stay engaged in these activities means doing what you can to avoid injury by practicing water sports safety. Water sports injuries are common at this time of year, and while this blog is focused on paddling sports, to read more about swimming, see our blog post here. And even though you are on the water, hydration is very important when doing physical activity, which you can read more about here. Now without further delay, here are some ways to help prevent water sports injuries so you can make the best of your time on the water.
Remember to Warm-up
Whenever engaging in strenuous activity, it is important to perform a dynamic warm-up in order to help prepare our muscles, joints, and nervous system for activity. Without a proper warm-up, there is an increased risk of injury. For an example of a quick series of warm-up exercises before paddling, visit here.
Wear protective equipment and be competent a swimmer
Regardless of the intensity or duration of the water activity in which you are participating, wearing a life jacket is highly recommended, even for strong swimmers. Whenever open water is involved, drowning is always a risk. Also, always engage in water sports during the daytime when there is good visibility. If it has been a while since your last activity on the water then brush up on basic swim safety before potentially encountering a stressful situation.
Take a buddy and stay alert
Accidents can happen. When they occur, especially in the water, it is important to have another trusted individual, preferably someone knowledgeable about water rescue, to be there in the event things go wrong. Even having a friend who can recognize a serious issue and call EMS is a better option than being alone. If you go solo, at least let someone know where you’re going. Always stay alert and aware of your surroundings, as well as the weather conditions. Before going out for a paddle, check the conditions to help ensure you don’t get caught in bad weather.
Know your limits and take breaks
When engaging in a new water sport for the first time it can be perceived as easier than it really is. It’s important to appreciate just how much physical exertion can be needed. Like any new sport or activity, it is best to learn the basics before progressing to more advanced and challenging environments, such as choppy water. While it may be tempting to push your limits to see what you’re capable of, it’s important to treat one’s body with respect and understand the potential consequences of not doing so.
When to seek out help
Despite your best efforts to prevent water sports injuries, they can still happen from time to time. If you suffer an injury, the knowledgeable and experienced team of healthcare professionals at CURAVITA Health Group can help. If you or your paddling buddy is experiencing shoulder, neck, or upper back pain that’s limiting your ability to get out on the water for a paddle and take advantage of the remaining summer weather, then please contact us.