By Chris Contois, MPT, CSCS
Whether you run, bike, or garden, exercising outside in the fresh air is one of the joys of life. But Oklahoma’s hot and humid summer months can lessen these outdoor pleasures. Keep these six tips in mind to stay active, while also avoiding injury or heat-related issues.
- Hydrate. Exercising in warmer weather typically makes you sweat more. Because of this, your body loses more water than usual. Make sure to replace it by staying properly hydrated. A general rule of thumb is to drink 8 to 10 ounces for every 20 minutes of activity. Don’t worry about sports drinks or other supplements. Plain water will do the trick.
- Warm up. Even if it’s hot outside, your body still needs a warm up before exercising. Take a few minutes to do some gentle stretches, light activity, or rhythmic movement before you start the more intense parts of your workout.
- Don’t do too much too fast. Give your body time to acclimate to the heat and humidity. Even if you normally run two miles without trouble, that amount of activity may feel more difficult under these strenuous weather conditions. To start, try a bit less distance, time, or intensity than normal and then gradually work your way back up.
- Don’t exercise in the heat of the day. Early morning (around 6:00 am) is often the coolest time of day in Oklahoma. This makes it one of the best times to exercise outside, especially if you’re walking or running with your favorite furry companion. If you’re not an early riser, after sundown can be a cooler time as well. If you’re walking or running in the dark, make sure to take safety precautions, such as reflective gear or shoes, to make sure you are visible to cars. In general, avoid mid-day and afternoon workouts because that’s when it will be the hottest and put the most strain on your body.
- Have a plan B. If it’s simply too hot to do the exercise you had intended, you may have to change course, and that’s okay. If you have a membership, take your workout into an air-conditioned gym to run on a treadmill, ride an exercise bike, or lift weights. You could also workout from the air-conditioned comfort of your home. You can purchase inexpensive workout DVDs or find plenty of great (and free!) workout videos on YouTube. You could also subscribe to an app or other service, so you can workout at home when it’s just too hot outside.
- Have fun. You’re more likely to stick with an exercise routine when you genuinely enjoy the activity. This is even more true when the heat and humidity might discourage you from exercising. Choose an activity you like a lot. It could be something that’s part of your year-long routine, like walking or gardening each morning. Or you could try something new this summer, like online yoga classes. Even in the heat, the options are endless. Just stick with it and have fun!
Megan Burkdoll is another occupational therapist on our hand therapy team. Megan was born and raised in Broken Arrow. Megan is a graduate of Bishop Kelley High School – Go Comets! Megan received her Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. She has been specializing in treatment of the upper extremity for the past 4 years and is studying for her specialty certification. Megan joined the hand therapy team at Tulsa Bone & Joint in 2018.
Megan is also the Vice President of the Oklahoma Occupational Therapy Association (OKOTA). Serving as a voting member of the OKOTA executive board for the past 5 years, she has been involved with areas such as legislative advocacy, policy change, continuing education, development, and strategic planning. OKOTA is affiliated with the national organization, known as the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA).
Megan and her husband, Alex, have two dogs who keep them on their toes. She enjoys spending any opportunity she can with her family and friends.
Megan wrote a helpful blog post for those who transitioned to a home office during COVID, which you can read here.
Thanks for all you do to help our patients move their lives forward, Megan! #OTMonth
April is OT Month, and we’re taking this opportunity to highlight our amazing Occupational Therapy team. Meet Molly Cook, hand therapist!
Molly attended Oklahoma State University for undergraduate studies. Molly graduated OU Health Sciences Center in 2012 with a Master’s in Occupational Therapy. Molly has been working as a hand therapist for 8.5 years. She became a Certified Hand Therapist in 2017, and Molly has been with Tulsa Bone & Joint Associates for 2 years.
Molly is skilled in static and dynamic splinting. If you’ve ever experienced pain at the base of your thumb, be sure to check out this blog post, “What is Causing Pain at the Base of My Thumb?” written by Molly.
When not working, Molly enjoys spending time gardening or playing outside with her husband and 2 year old daughter.
By Bethany Koss, PT
Ankle sprains are one of the most common forms of injuries. We’ve all probably had one at some point in our lives, especially if you are involved in running or sports. They can happen to people of all ages and can occur when someone is running, jumping, or even just walking on uneven surfaces. They occur when the foot twists, turns, or rolls past its normal motion.
The most common is a lateral ankle sprain. This typically happens when you land on a pointed or plantarflexed foot that is also turned in or inverted.
This occurs because these ligaments on the lateral (outside) ankle are weaker than the large medial (inside) deltoid ligament. Ligaments are the elastic tissue that connects bone to bone, and injuries occur when the tissue gets stretched or stressed past their normal range.
There are 3 different grades of ankle sprains that all have varying recovery times based on severity. So just because you sprained your ankle doesn’t mean you’ll always be down for several months!
Grades of ankle sprains:
-Grade 1 sprains occur when there is an injury where the tissue was overstressed and may have a mild tear, but the ankle joint itself is still strong.
-Grade 2 sprains occur when there is more of a severe tear, but the ligament is still attached.
-Grade 3 sprains occur when there is a complete tear in the ligament and it is very weak and unstable.
Treatment for ankle sprains:
-Grade 1: Use the R.I.C.E. method: rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Avoiding or limiting walking on it is recommended for a couple days.
-Grade 2: Use the R.I.C.E. method and an NSAID of some sort (Aleve, Ibuprofen, Advil) to help with the pain and inflammation. You also may want to avoid walking on it for a couple days and use a compression sleeve or brace to help support the ankle while you are on it.
-Grade 3: Use the R.I.C.E method along with NSAIDs. Walking on it without a walking boot is not recommended. These sprains can be treated conservatively, but occasionally may require surgery as well.
How to avoid ankle sprains:
-Wear proper shoes. Avoid running or playing any sports in flip flops or shoes that don’t fit.
-Warm up prior to running or sports.
-Be aware of surroundings and the terrain you are walking on. Be aware of uneven surfaces, curbs, stairs, or holes, etc.
-Strengthen your ankle. There are 4 basic exercises that we give patients to help strengthen the muscles that support the ankle in the video below:
If you have any questions concerning your ankle sprain, please see your physician or your physical therapist. There are many exercises that can help strengthen your ankle besides the 4 basics, so your physical therapist can help guide you through an individualized treatment program and can also screen out your hips to see if they might be contributing to your ankle problems as well. We are the movement specialists. Let us help move you in the right direction.
Congratulations to Dr. Wesley Stotler upon accepting the dynaBunion™ Center of Recognition Award for successfully training and performing over 5 dynaBunion™ 4D minimal-incision bunion procedures. Dr. Stotler is a fellowship trained, board certified foot and ankle surgeon. Learn more about the dynaBunion procedure at www.4DBunion.com.