Holiday Injuries and How to Help Prevent Them

After a wonderful weeks holiday, walking in Northumberland, I’m back to normal and feeling great.

The same probably can’t be said for the lady we met on one of Northumberland’s wide open beaches. She was jogging towards me, looking the picture of good health and dressed in eye catching lycra gear, a pair of high end running shoes and a heart monitor. Just before we drew level, she suddenly pulled up with that hop-hop-hopping gait that made it obvious that damage in soft tissue in her left leg was putting a stop to this particular run.

We stopped to help and heard the story of how she had decided to take up running again now her children were getting older. She’d enjoyed the time picking out her running gear, choosing a more nutritionally sound diet and planning routes. But she had failed to build up her fitness, instead had assumed that her routine in pre children days (several years ago) would be safe to return to.

We left her at her car, feeling much better and realising that she needed to take things more slowly.

Many of us are the same don’t you think – convinced that just because we used to do it, we still can. Or when on holiday maybe we’ve never done it but still see no reason we shouldn’t give it a go.

You know the scene – exotic location and the chance to take a hike to the top of a local extinct volcano or down a steep cliff to the deserted sunlit cove. But muscles that spend 50 weeks of the year sitting behind a desk or walking only to the local shops are not expecting, nor are they equipped for the sudden extra strain placed on them.

What are the most common injuries?

Shoulder Pain

So much temptation. The swimming pool entices you in to perfect your backstroke, crawl or doggy paddle. The tennis courts remind you how much you enjoyed Wimbledon – surely that backhand smash would defeat Federer or Williams? Beach volleyball – whats not to like? All these place a great strain on the shoulder joint. All repetitive actions.

Painful Knees

Walking, riding (horse and cycles) and running. All popular holiday activities and often not enjoyed since the last holiday. Knees will feel the strain, particularly if they have spent the previous few months tucked underneath a desk or riding in style on the motorway.

Back Pain

Probably the issue that many people face, not just on arrival on holiday but in the lead up too as people decide to rejoin the gym to regain that perfect ‘beach body’. A reputable gym will provide the expert advice to safely use the equipment and build up stamina – although its always tempting to push that little bit further.

Sore Feet

Feet are often neglected all year, then the arrival of sun, sand and sea tempts us into flip flops or sandals with little support. We walk and run further, we trudge across shifting sand, over uneven footpaths and down steep paths to deserted beaches. It’s no surprise our feet develop blisters, sprains and strains.

So how can you protect your body?

Regular exercise throughout the year is a great place to start. We all know this, but busy lives, bodies tired out from a stressful job and a demanding family life all contribute to squeezing out that daily walk, the evening run, the regular game of badminton/football/squash. A frenetic world seems to deny time for the leisure activities in life.

Often, making exercise more fun is the answer. Making yourself do something you don’t enjoy is the best way to fail. Find the activity that suits you, that you enjoy.

For some people this will mean joining a gym – the encouragement of other gym goers and maybe of a personal trainer will make the difference between regular attendance or choosing to either stay in bed or to head home for a catch up on the soaps.

Walk with a friend, company on a walk will lift it from exercise and into something more. Take the dog with you if you have one, plan a stop en route at a pub or coffee shop – you’ll deserve the break.

Rediscover the pleasure of a sport you used to enjoy – tennis, badminton, football – you choose. Camaraderie, competition, celebration, whats not to like?

Join an exercise class – take a friend. Set yourself some targets and celebrate when you reach them. Then set some more.

Look after your body by giving it the right fuel. Most of us know what foods are good for us, which are best in moderation and those that are best eaten only occasionally. Not sure? – the internet is full of advice, surf the net. Ask friends. Go to a nutritionist.

Physical therapy is great for keeping your body in the optimal condition. Bowen Therapy works with your body. Bowen aims to keep your body in balance, engage the parasympathetic nervous system, prompt healing and reduce incidence of injury.