Summer is in full swing.  Being from the Midwest we cherish the time we get to spend outdoors during what seems like the shortest season of the year.  After hibernating for a few months we charge outside and take up our favorite past times which can include anything from gardening to golfing and hiking to swimming.  Getting outside and using our bodies is awesome but it can require some muscles we forgot we even have. Here are a few tips to keep in mind to keep your body safe as you enjoy the sunshine.

 
1. When it comes time to get down in the dirt, think about not spending time in compromising positions for extended periods of time and garden smarter.  Take breaks often, use a stool when possible, consider planting in pots raised up on a table or bench, twist your spine both ways instead of one way, use long tools to dig in the earth versus being down on hands and knees.  
2. Support your back with good footwear.  Even though it can be tempting to wear flip-flops everywhere you go, this can tighten up your low back.  To keep backless shoes from slipping off you have to grip with your toes, which tightens up your hamstrings and pulls on your low back.  Wearing tennis shoes or even sandals with backs can relieve muscle tension and allow your low back to relax.
3. Warm your muscles up before an activity.  Every summer we see the golfers who were anxious to get out on the course and golf 18 holes as soon as the snow melts.  But those muscles in your back have not had to turn and stretch like that for months and it can cause quite the strain. Warming up by heading to the driving range and stretching prior can reduce the likelihood of hurting your back.  Being patient with your body as you get back into the swing of things (pun intended) can keep you out golfing often, instead of needed to take a break while you recover from an injury.
4. Stay hydrated.  We lose a lot more water from our body when it gets warm, while at the same time a lot of summer activities involve using our muscles and sweating.  Upping your water intake before and after an activity and throughout the day will allow you to maintain your hydration levels. Remember that by the time you are thirsty you have already lost water weight and you need to make up for that.  
5. Get adjusted regularly!  As chiropractors we see patterns change in your muscular system depending on what activities you are doing, which means changing subluxations or spinal misalignments.  Reducing pressure on the nervous systems will allow your muscles to remain relaxed even when enjoying lots of summer time activities.
With that said be safe but get outside and enjoy the sunshine.  Have fun, be silly, try something new. Comment below on your favorite summer time activities!

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