tips for a healthy Michigan summer

It's summertime here in Northern Michigan, which means most of our friends and patient’s here in our Bay City community are going to want to be out in the sun and on the water. Whether it's kayaking, canoeing, water skiing, wake surfing, or any other water sport the fact of the matter is that you are going to spend countless hours in the sun which puts us at risk for severally different types of injury. 

We have gathered what we think are our Top 3 Tips for Staying Healthy in the Michigan summer! The goal of developing these pieces of advice is to help you decrease the occurrence of injury, help you warm up, tips to keep you well hydrated, and hopefully get you to understand the importance of incorporating strength training both through the summer season and especially in the offseason! 

Tip #1: Warm-Up!

First, warm up, get the blood fluid through a brisk walk, then run through some of the basic ranges of motion and super simple stretches for both the upper and lower body. You may think of activities like kayaking, canoeing, water skiing, etc as “leisure activities”, but the fact of the matter is that these are all very much athletic activities. So treat them as such! 

An easy tip for warming up is always to warm up the major joints related to each activity. Here are some common activities with the associated muscle groups:

  • Kayaking/Canoeing - Low Back, Hips, Shoulders
  • Fishing - Shoulders
  • Water Skiing/Wake-Boarding - Hips, Low Back, Knees, Ankles

Tip #2: Stay Hydrated!

It might seem cliche, but you can’t have a summer tip sheet without mentioning hydration! The truth is that cliches are cliche for a reason, proper hydration is essential! If you're not getting the proper fluids and electrolytes, you are a lot more likely to fall victim to heat-related illnesses such as dehydration, heat stroke, or heat exhaustion. 

Just like plants, humans also require adequate hydration for good health and healing. If we do not consume enough water each day, our body can't remove toxins, which means longer healing times and a compromised immune system. Not surprisingly, dehydration is linked to a multitude of conditions, from headaches to heart disease. Follow these recommendations for optimal hydration:

  • Drink six to eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day (48-64 oz./ 1.5-2 liters total).
  • Plan your water intake needs for the day or a workout, then carry a measured bottle to help ensure you’re staying on track.
  • Alcohol and caffeine leach water from your body, so limit both, and be sure to increase your fluid intake when you do indulge.
  • We lose water faster when we sweat, so strive to replace water with a small drink (4-8 oz) every 15 minutes or so during heavy exercise or hot physical work.
  • “Electrolyte replacement” drinks like Gatorade® or Powerade ® carry more sugar than electrolytes and are generally unnecessary unless you are sweating heavily for more than an hour.

One of the most common summer activities who suffer from these types of heat-related illnesses is fishing!  When you are out on the water fishing you'll be in direct sunlight for hours. Same with kayaking and canoeing. These lower-intensity repetitive activities have a limited range of motion, which can alter necessary blood flow. This decrease in blood flow can accelerate the effects of dehydration.  So be sure to take stretch breaks to keep any cramps from setting in, and of course, don’t forget to hydrate!

Tip #3: Start Strength Training!

We often see an increase in the occurrence of flare-ups in musculoskeletal injuries when activities start to ramp up in the summer months. This is likely the result of a lack of strength. 

Strength training is essential to almost every daily activity, but the ramp-up of activity in the summer is what brings all of these instabilities to the surface. Some benefits of strength training are:

  • It will help you get up more effortlessly when you're surfing, skiing, or paddling longer and harder when kayaking or canoeing 
  • It will help you become more injury resilient

Water sports are one of the best parts of living in Northern Michigan. We want to make sure our patients are enjoying the fruits of the summer while they are here. So be sure to keep our 3 Tips to A Healthy Michigan Summer in mind and keep living life to the fullest! 

Ashley  Jordan

Ashley Jordan


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