There’s never a good time to sustain an injury, but being injured can be especially hard during the summer when the beautiful, sunny weather is calling to you to get outside and be active. Luckily, there are plenty of low impact outdoor activities that you may be able to participate in even while you’re on the mend. And while it’s important to pay attention to your body and not push yourself too hard when you’re healing, if you feel like you’re healthy enough to get out and stretch your muscles you may want to give some of these activities a try:
Cycling is a classic low impact sport. It’s really easy on your joints and muscles but it also provides a great aerobic workout. In fact, even if you’ve sustained a lower body injury, your doctor may recommend cycling as a way to stay active. Consider taking advantage of the sunny weather and dry roads and paths that summer provides by hopping on your bike and going for a ride.
Swimming is another classic low impact sport. It improves lung capacity, flexibility, and upper body strength, especially in the shoulders. And since the water you’re swimming through helps to support the weight of your body, swimming is really easy on your muscles and joints. Additionally, if you suffer from arthritis, a recent study published in Musculoskeletal Caresuggests that swimming may actually decrease the pain and stiffness associated with that condition.
Canoeing or Kayaking
If you have a lower body injury, canoeing, kayaking, or any other type of boating might be a great alternative for you. These sports don’t require you to use your legs very much, so if you have a knee, ankle, or some other type of leg injury, you’ll still be able to participate. And these sports will improve your cardiovascular health and really strengthen your core. With the added bonus of getting you outside and into nature!
Walking or hiking
Walking is a great summer activity that’s very low impact but also burns a lot of calories. And one of the great things about walking is that you can make it as easy or difficult as you want by adding uphill or downhill portions to your route.
Hiking, similarly, varies in intensity based on where you decide to hike. Picking a nice, level, well maintained trail will provide you with a low impact activity. Additionally, the softer ground that you typically find on hiking trails is gentler on your joints and muscles than walking on paved sidewalks or roads.
Yoga is a great way to increase flexibility, muscle strength, and tone, and all of these things will go a long way in decreasing your risk of future injury. It’s also believed that yoga decreases depression and anxiety, according to a study published by the Journal of Clinical Nursing. There are likely tons of opportunities to participate in yoga classes in your community, and most places offer outdoor yoga classes during the summer.