imagesAs the summer weather heats up its time to hit the water. With so many different types of water sports there’s something for everyone to enjoy. But, if you’re not careful a fun day on the water can result in major injuries. Be sure to stretch, warm-up and follow all safety precautions before hitting the water. Here are some tips for staying safe for some of the most popular water activities.

Waterskiing: Lower back pain is a common injury for waterskiers. On land strengthen your back by laying on your stomach and lifting one leg at a time. Also, in the same position lift the chest and shoulders off the floor to help your back. Another common waterskiing injury is tennis elbow, which is caused by holding the rope horizontal for too long. To prevent this bend your elbows while holding on. This will force your biceps to do the work and take the pressure off your elbows. As general safety guidelines never ski in shallow water or near other swimmers and make sure to always have two people on the boat while you are skiing, one to drive and one to watch you.

Sailing: Sailing is a physically demanding activity which requires training. The motions of sailing uses isometric muscle exercise which occurs when the muscle is contracted while the limb does not move. This type of exercise is very demanding, so it is important to train before going out sailing. Do step-ups and squats to work on your quads and leg-lifts and trunk rotations for abdominal muscles. Sailors are usually out on the water for long periods of time so make sure to bring plenty of water to avoid dehydration. A common injury of sailors is pterygium, or surfer’s eye, which is caused by sunlight, wind, sand and sea salt being blown into the eye. This type of fibrous tissue develops in the inner or outer white of the eye. It can easily be avoided by wearing proper sunglasses while on the water.

Windsurfing: Like sailing, this is also a physically demanding sport that requires good stamina. Back, thigh and forearm muscles are the most commonly used muscles while windsurfing, try to build up these muscles throughout the winter and during dry workouts. Do leg and trunk extensions to strengthen the back and quad muscles and be sure to stretch adequately before going out. Stretch the quadriceps by standing, bending the knee and grabbing the ankle. Pull the ankle towards the buttocks and hold for 10 seconds. Repeat the stretch and alternate legs. Loosen your lower back by laying on your back. Raise one knee to you chest and use your hands to pull it closer to you. Hold until you can feel the stretch and then repeat on both legs.

When doing any water sport always wear a colorful life vest, even if you are an excellent swimmer and be sure to wear and reapply sunscreen. Water sports are a great way to enjoy the summer weather while getting in a great workout. Just make sure to always pay attention to your body and stop at the first sign of injury. If you pay attention and learn how to properly prepare for your favorite water sport you’ll be able to enjoy all the water has to offer.