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Updated 19 January 2017

7 ways to avoid beach sport injuries

Being active on the beach during the holidays is fun and will keep you fit, but make sure you take the necessary precautions to avoid getting injured.

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If you’re someone who prefers keeping active and busy on the beach rather than lying around watching other people do their thing, take note of the following tips: 

1. Have the right gear 
If you’re going to be running, make sure your shoes offer you the appropriate protection and stability; if you’re going to cycle, invest in a helmet and puncture kit. 

2. Be prepared for injury
Have a small first aid kit in your car or beach bag in case of injury. It should contain a gel ice pack for sprains, bandages, antihistamine cream for bites and “after sun” for sunburn. 

3. Sunblock 
Regardless of the time of day, the sun can damage your skin. Have a high SPF sunblock that is waterproof, and keep reapplying throughout the day. 

4. Clear the beach
If you’re playing a sport on the beach, first check the area for fishing hooks, kite surfer strings and fishing lines. Also check for washed up blue bottles, which can still give you a nasty sting.

5. Tides
If your sport involves being in the water, make sure you are within the lifeguard’s vision. Be mindful of shore breaks, and if you’re out surfing or swimming, be aware of rip currents. Make sure you know what to do if you get caught in one. 

6. Keep hydrated
Drink plenty of water and take time out in the shade on a hot day, as you could risk developing heat disorder, symptoms of which include sunburn, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke

7. Warm up and cool down
If you’re going to be playing soccer or volleyball on the beach, make sure you stretch before and afterwards, and do a short warm-up first. The sand is a very uneven surface and can lead to many injuries such as sprained knees and ankles.

References: 

Stay Safe At The Shore: How To Avoid 5 Common Beach Injuries; Aug 11, 2015; Whitney David, MD; St Joseph Health: http://www.stjhs.org/HealthCalling/2015/August/Stay-Safe-At-The-Shore-How-To-Avoid-5-Common-Bea.aspx 

Ten Dangers at the Beach; National Ocean Service: http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/news/jul14/beachdangers.html  

 
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