July 23, 2019

MedStar Advice on Preparing for Summer Activities

Run & Fun Walk for Hospice

Dr. B. Elizabeth Delasobera, medical director of MedStar PromptCare, offers four tips to prepare for activities this summer. MedStar Health operates 10 hospitals in the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area, including MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital in Leonardtown, MD.

By Dr. B. Elizabeth Delasobera

Regularly exercising can be a difficult routine to accomplish, especially during the winter when harsh conditions can make running or participating in any outdoor sports a feat.

As a result, our bodies often are out of shape and unprepared for new exercise routines or summer activities, such as hiking and swimming. Here are some ways to prepare your body heading into the summer.

Wear the Right Shoes

When you begin exercising again, it’s important you wear a good pair of shoes that fit your feet well. A good pair of shoes can prevent injuries such as ankle sprains and plantar fasciitis. This is especially true when you’re jogging or hiking on tough terrain or uneven surfaces.

I recommend visiting a shoe store that has a staff who specializes in fitting people into the right shoes based on their arches and the width of their feet. Once you purchase shoes that work well for you, replace them every 300 miles or three months — whichever comes first — as this is when shoes generally lose their cushioning and support.

Slowly Ramp Up Your Exercise Routine

When you begin exercising, it’s important not to do too much right away. If you ramp up too quickly, you can overuse joints and muscles, which can result in a variety of sprains, tears, and stress fractures. Every year, we see this in people who were sedentary before beginning a sudden and strenuous exercise routine.

Try increasing what you’re doing — whether it’s jogging, playing basketball, or hiking — by about 10 percent each week. This will allow your body time to adjust to the exercise and steadily get in shape.

When you begin exercising this summer, it’s important not to overdo it if you haven’t exercised much over the winter. Learn more tips to prepare for summer activities here.

Have an Annual Exam

Annual or physical exams are a great way to have your overall health examined.

If you opt for a physical exam prior to summertime, you can ensure your health is good enough to begin an exercise routine. At the same time, your doctor can inform you about any exercise limitations you should consider. This is especially important if you have any history of heart disease. Your doctor may recommend you begin cardiac rehab, an outpatient program which combines exercise and education to help you improve your heart and overall health.

Stay Hydrated

Keeping your body hydrated is essential to good health, and in the summer when you sweat more, it can be more difficult to stay hydrated. Dehydration can lead to health implications such as:

  • Feeling tired or fatigued
  • Increased risk of falls
  • Kidney failure
  • Low blood pressure

A good way to know whether you’re dehydrated is to monitor your urine. If it becomes dark yellow, you’re dehydrated. Try to drink about a half-gallon of water every day. Because you lose sodium when you sweat, it’s important to consume electrolytes. I recommend avoiding sugary sports drinks and opting for electrolyte-infused water or packets of electrolytes that you can stir into your water.

For more information and one-click access to a full list of resources available at MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital, visit their Leader member page.

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