Summer is finally here and many of us are conscientiously reviewing our bodies and lifestyles, and getting ready for a break from the normal routine – whether that’s days out, festivals, mini-breaks or a full blown holiday.
For most of us, it feels like it’s the perfect time of year and we want to enjoy it to the fullest. Here are our top tips to help you get summer body ready – and keep it!
Enjoy being outdoors
Whether you enjoy cycling <link to cycling blog>, gardening <link to gardening blog> or taking a gentle evening stroll, getting outdoors for your exercise or for relaxation tops up your vitamin D levels from the sunshine and generally puts you in a good mood.
Stick to your usual wellness routine
Although summer can be holiday time, you still need time to look after your health. Consistency is key so stick to any established treatment plans over the summer, even if you go away. Talk to your osteopath about exercises that can be done whilst on holiday and make sure that any new activities and exercise will suit your body and needs.
Review your exercise and energy levels
When you’re in the moment and loving the outdoors, it can be easy to overlook a few niggles until it’s too late. Listen to your body and if you are feeling stiffness or even pain, then stop and review what you are doing. It may be that you need to check your posture to ensure that you are weight bearing evenly or you may need to stretch your back and neck or change your movement. If you are feeling tired, then rest – there’s always tomorrow!
Heading off on holiday? Make a list!
It’s great when you get to your destination but preparing to go away can be stressful, particularly if you have to shop and pack for the whole family. Making lists well in advance always helps – and if you can – building in a few hours to relax before you head away. Here’s our planner to help.
|Amount of time before you go away||Action|
|When you book||Check your passports are in date and that you are following the new rules for travel to EU countries|
Check out what vaccinations are needed (if any) and the .gov website
|~ 14 days||Create your packing list. Don’t forget all the extras for that specific holiday e.g. mosquito nets, trainers for cycling|
Include any medications you may need – reorder prescriptions if required
Order foreign currency (if needed)
Try on your holiday clothes to ensure they still fit. Wash any that need ‘freshening up’
|10- 7 days||Go shopping! Top up your wardrobe, buy snacks and toys for the children, and ensure you have non-prescription medications|
|5-3 days||Pack if you can, have a massage or a few hours out from work to see a good friend or family. It’s a bit of downtime before the crazy few days before you go away|
|1 day||Check your packing and put your cases in the door |
Ensure your tickets, passports and foreign currency is in your hand luggage
|Departure Day||Wheel your cases out of the door, happy and relaxed knowing that you have all you need!|
Use luggage on wheels
Heading off on a hike? Jetting off to sunnier climes? Check your luggage before you leave.
Carrying heavy bags can strain your spine so use wheeled suitcases and bags, make the most of luggage carts at the airport, and always use the lift in a hotel to move your cases between floors. If there’s room, pack your orthopaedic pillow with you to help you get a good night’s sleep in your hotel room!
Love hiking? Invest in a good backpack with wide straps and a waist belt to help speak the weight across your body.
Enjoy the flight
There are so many actions you can take whilst on an aeroplane to keep your body in tip top condition. If you are prone to swollen ankles or have cardiovascular issues, wear flight socks on every flight, no matter how short.
A great tip is to take a neck pillow and a small towel or wrap with you on board – this supports the neck and the wrap can be rolled up to support your lower or mid back. Moving around the plane and stretching every 30-60 minutes will also help alleviate any niggles in your back.
Surrender the sunlounger
Sun Loungers are great unless you have a back problem. Many of them are low to the ground making them not so easy to get down to or up from. Where possible, choose a high lounger or even a chair with foot support. It may not feel like it, but moving every 30 minutes is also a good idea – you may need to set an alarm if you think you’re going to doze off or get lost in a book.
Take advantage of the lighter evenings to relax your mind and body, to rest and reset and make sure that you stretch after exercise! This is an important part of cooling down post exercise and will make all the difference to how your muscles and tendons feel the next day.
Why not try stretching outdoors feeling the earth beneath you whilst listening to the sounds around you? This will relax your mind as well as your body – which in turn has a huge impact on your wellbeing and how you feel about yourself. Talk to your osteopath about which stretches are best for you.
Massages are amazing but be aware when having a massage on the beach. Whilst most masseurs are trained practitioners,language barriers can make it tough to communicate your medical history – a need to know before embarking on a deep pressure on your muscles. Whilst it may seem like an opportunity to relax, think carefully about who you allow to touch your body in case they do more harm than good.
Sandals, flip flops – holiday footwear considerations!
It’s so easy to live in sandals and flip flops over the summer months. It’s great to free your feet and spread your toes but if you usually wear heels, which tighten the muscles in your achilles heel, and swap to always wearing flip flops or flatties, which stretch the muscles, you may notice it!
If you’re someone who regularly wears orthotics, bear in mind that you may not be able to wear these in open-toed sandals. Consider lightweight closed shoes so you can still use your orthotics or choose a good quality brand of sandal with built in arch support. Remember that going barefoot is really good for your body too and you’ll receive huge benefits from feeling the earth beneath your toes.
Hydration is important at any time of the year, but especially when the weather is warmer and we’re spending more time in the sun. Proper hydration keeps your muscles in optimum condition and helps to keep your spinal discs spongy and better able to support your spine.
Keeping a water bottle with you whilst you exercise (or even relax in the garden!) is a great reminder and can even help you forge good habits!
If you’ve overdone it getting summer body ready or are feeling the strain of preparing yourself for the summer months ahead, ask us to take a look and offer advice on treatment and future prevention. You can book an initial consultation with an OsteoAllies osteopath in Fetcham, Hitchin or London here.