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Stay Fit – and Safe – This Summer: Top Beach Sports and Recreational Injuries

Stay Fit – and Safe – This Summer - Top Beach Sports and Recreational Injuries


Summer is the season you prepare your body the whole year for, but now that it’s here, what’s the best way to keep fit while taking advantage of everything this season has to offer?


When it comes to fresh ways to fit in a workout while having loads of fun, beach sports get all the glory. And for good reason: they offer the perfect combination of thrills and danger while providing bigger calorie burns and fitness gains than sports on land. Volleyball, paddle boarding, wakesurfing, kiteboarding, and even the popular jog on the beach are all amazing fun and a fantastic way to stay fit – as long as you practice them correctly to avoid injuring yourself.


Here is a list of some of the most popular sports you can practice this summer and the most common sports injuries that can occur from lack of training or caution:


1) Kiteboarding  


Also known as kitesurfing, kiteboarding is the ultimate workout that will tone your entire body in record time, burning up to 600 calories per hour. Combining the exciting maneuvers of surfing with the speed and diversity of wind surfing, this adrenaline-packed sport can nowadays be practiced  on nearly all bodies of water, including oceans, rivers, lakes, and dams.


What can go wrong:

  • Doing a lot of kitesurfing may lead to the inflammation of tendon attachments in the lower arm (tennis elbow).
  • Having loose foot straps and being forced to tense the foot in awkward positions may lead to tendonitis of the foot.
  • As a result of being lofted or hitting something hard, you can end up with a burst ear drum and mild to severe impact injuries.

2) Beach Jogging/Running


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Because running on soft sand requires more energy than running on the road and also reduces collision time, which results in less stress on the lower extremities, beach running can be an efficient calorie-burning workout. The muscles are more engaged, and there is a significant increase in work when running on soft sand, athletes building more power in less time than on a run on other surfaces.


What can go wrong:

  • Tendinitis of the knee, which may result in the inflammation of the tendon above or below the knee cap
  • Sprains of the ankle ligaments
  • Injury to the cartilages that cushion the knee joint
  • Stress fractures of the foot and ankle
  • Soreness, swelling, or stiffness

3) Volleyball


Although considered a tough sport, beach volleyball remains a favorite among beachgoers primarily due to the ease with which newcomers can approach it. A perfect match for those who want to lose weight, volleyball burns up to 585 calories in only 45 minutes, all while strengthening the muscles in the upper body, arms, thighs, and lower legs.


What can go wrong:

  • The rotator cuff and other structures of the shoulder can be strained from the high force and movement required of the shoulder in spiking, serving, and blocking
  • Impact injuries in the knee, hip, toe, foot, ankle, and elbow as a result of players throwing themselves on sand
  • Strain on the lower back as players arch and twist their spines to spike the ball
  • Finger fractures and dislocations may result from the high speed of impact of the ball
  • Patellar tendonitis (jumper’s knee) can be caused by jumping from a crouched position to block or spike a ball

4) Water Skiing and Wakeboarding


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Water skiing is one of the fastest growing outdoor sports in the US today, with the number of participants increasing from a few thousand two decades ago to nearly 20 million today. All the basic elements in water skiing and wakeboarding are similar to those of snowboarding, except the boat and the temperature outside. Just like other adrenaline-fueled sports, it yields great excitement and can rapidly become addictive.


What can go wrong:

  • Ankle sprains and fractures are often the most common type of injury (1 in 5 of all water skiing injuries)
  • Achilles tendon ruptures may occur during a crash or when skiers kick off their skis in a violent manner
  • Injuries to the exposed areas of the head and neck from impacting the water, jumps, tow handle, or the skis
  • Hamstring injuries can result from attempting to get up on one or two skis from a submerged position

It’s definitely worth using your summer vacation as an excuse to try out a new and exciting activity, as long as you remain safe and injure-free. Remember to always wear adequate equipment, undergo required training, be aware of your surroundings, and most importantly, respect your body’s limits. If you have been doing too much, too fast, and you’ve suffered more than a superficial injury, seek medical assistance immediately. Also contact your local chiropractor’s office to speed up your recovery and get back to enjoying the rest of your summer vacation.


About the Author

Dr. Marc Browner is the Founder of iChiropractic and Wellness in Naples, Florida. A graduate of the University of Florida in 1991, he earned his Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Life Chiropractic in 1995. In private practice since 1998, Dr. Browner is a member of the Florida Chiropractic Society, the Florida Chiropractic Association, and he attends continuing education seminars, classes, and workshops to remain abreast of the most current treatment methods and technological advances in the field.

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