Play safe this summer

The ball’s in your court as new research reveals a direct link between rising temperatures and an increase in injuries 

Sprains, broken bones, dislocations, sun damage – welcome to the toll of playing games with family or friends in the summer garden and great outdoors. Don’t believe us? Well, research from Bupa health clinics shows as many as two-thirds of people sustain a seasonal injury as a result of spending more time outdoors during the summer months.

The trend is set to explode even further this summer as we’re all inspired to get outside and take up tennis and football to try and emulate our sporting heroes from Wimbledon and the delayed Euro football championships.


The UK on a warm summer’s day is one of the best places to be and it’s great that so many of us enjoy the great outdoors. However, it’s important that we take the necessary precautions. A friendly game of sport could become much more serious if someone hasn’t been active for a while and jumps straight in.

Here are just a few sensible tips to help you stay fit, healthy and injury free:

Play nicely – When playing games with friends and family, it is ok to take a breather now and again and always make sure you are wearing the correct gear for the sport you’re playing.

Listen to your body – If you feel faint, dizzy, or simply too hot, stop. Start with shorter workouts, longer rest periods and lower intensity sessions. You can increase the intensity as your body adapts. Initially just focus on keeping yourself as healthy and safe as possible.

Wear appropriate clothing – Lighter coloured, sweat wicking clothes are a must-have. Not only do we want to keep our core body temperature lower, but we also want to ensure we’re comfortable too.

Know your limits – Go at a pace that suits you and your body. Have a quick jog around and stretch your calves, hamstrings, back and arms. This can take no less than three minutes to do a full body stretch – so why not!  Prior to starting a new fitness regime or sport, see a physiotherapist or have a full body health assessment to ensure your body is at the right level before progressing.

Early riser – Exercising in the early hours of the day has the advantage of not only being quieter, it’s also a lot cooler. If you’re not an early bird, waiting until the sun goes down will be your second-best option. It won’t be as cool as it is in the morning, but the heat will be considerably lower allowing you to train without too much trouble.

Hydrate – One of the biggest issues when training in the heat is dehydration. As we exercise, our body’s core temperature will naturally increase resulting in us losing bodily fluid through sweat. You should drink 250 to 300ml around 30 minutes before your session, continuously sip water throughout the workout, and ensure that you drink between 500ml and one litre post-workout.

Unwanted bites – To avoid being nature’s feast, make sure you cover up after a workout. If you are bitten, act straight away and avoid itching by buying a cream from the pharmacy. Anti-biotics are sometimes necessary if the bite gets infected. It’s important to monitor any changes surrounding the bite and visit a pharmacist if you’re unsure.

Combat allergies – One tip is to put Vaseline around your nostrils to trap pollen, it may feel odd but it can help reduce the symptoms. Avoid grassy areas during the early morning and evening as this is when the pollen count is highest.

Stay protected – And remember, whether you’re abroad or in the UK, everyone should protect themselves from the sun to avoid damage to the skin. It is important to know your skin type as this will determine the level of sun exposure you can handle before burning.