When you’re excited to go on a family vacation, the last thing you want is to worry about constant aches and pains, allergies, or other conditions and situations that may hold you back. For parents, one of the more frequent complaints I’ve heard is simply not being able to keep up with the kids over a longer period of time. One lovely couple in particular that I recently spoke with mentioned that they had to cut out a hike in Hawaii that everyone was really looking forward to simply because it was too long, and given some medical history, the associated aches and pains in the knees just weren’t worth it.
We would like to offer a few tips for staying active outdoors with a focus on the parents. These may not apply to everyone, but we hope you can leave with something helpful that may help you or someone you know.
- Don’t be afraid to use sports medicine braces! These aren’t just limited to the bulkier ones that you see people wearing after surgery. In fact, most braces now seem to be slimmer and more practical, and many are meant for the general population and older individuals. They can also be broken down by activity. For example, ankle braces for soccer are quite popular now, but much if this is because they’re good for many different activities, not just soccer. For example, these would make for excellent additional joint support while hiking, allowing you to stay on your feet and keep active for a longer period of time. Brace Access is a site that I particularly like because it talks about all the different braces, but they also provide some good educational info as well.
- Consider the timing of any pain and inflammation medication. For example, if you plan on going on a hike or participating in water activities, you may already anticipate some discomfort after the fun is all over. Many people have success taking some Advil or Tylenol about an hour before exercising and one more dose after the fact.
- Exercising regularly in small bursts can really help boost energy levels and keep you feeling great. One thing I found really works for me is getting up a few minutes earlier (although sleep is simply necessary sometimes!), and after my morning shower, I spend a few minutes going through some gentle stretches. Nothing overly difficult, just something to keep you loose and help you wake up. Some days I’ll switch this with a quick morning walk around the neighbourhood, which can really improve your day. This may not sound like something that will really boost your fitness, but it does add up, and can really make a difference in the long term.
At the end of the day, keeping active and constantly moving is one of the best ways to live a healthy lifestyle and keep up your energy levels as you age. It can seem difficult at first, and maintaining motivation is difficult for anyone including myself, but it’s extremely rare to ever regret doing something active. Finally, it’s a great way to set a positive example for your children while also spending a lot more quality time together. In this manner, you’re not only benefiting your own health, but those you care about the most as well. Good luck, and enjoy the summer weather!