A Kiwi summer is a favourite time of year for many of us, but with all that fun and travel comes a greater chance of injury.
The Body In Motion team has listed some of our country’s most common scenarios and causes of injury over the summer months + provided quick win advice on reducing the risk and enjoying the sunshine!
Beach days and water activities:
During the 2021/22 period covered by the Water Safety New Zealand (WSNZ) Annual Report, there were 12,977 incidents related to beach activities in the country, including rescues and medical treatments. Make sure you swim between the flags on patrolled beaches to stay safe. If you are not a confident swimmer, go no deeper than waist level to avoid getting caught in rips. Be sure to take time to destress at the beach. Adjustable beach chairs can also help reduce back and neck pain when relaxing on the beach – it might just help your back pain!
Tramping and Hiking
According to ACC data, tramping and hiking injuries account for around 10% of all ACC claims during the summer months. Quality footwear has been known to help prevent the chances of lower-body injury, so check into your local shoe clinic for a proper fitting. Stay updated with the Department of Conservation (DOC) advisories. The DOC websites are not just about conservation but also a treasure trove of advice and safety!
Summer BBQs, parties, and picnics:
Balance out rich foods with fruits and veggies to maintain a diverse diet. We all love a good drink, but ensure you drink safely and within your limit to prevent alcohol-related injuries, which spiked to over 4,000 claims in 2020, according to ACC data.
Playing summer sports:
According to ACC data, sports injuries increase during the summer months, with around 20% of all ACC claims during this period related to sport. Proper warm-ups specific to the sport can reduce injury risk. Regular equipment checks can also prevent unforeseen malfunctions, which are a leading cause of injuries in many sports.
Last summer, the New Zealand Police released a harrowing report reporting 21 deaths on our roads in the summer of 2022/23. Adjusting your seat and taking breaks to reduce fatigue can prevent accidents by up to 30% during the holiday season, when road traffic accidents tend to increase.
Overexposure to the sun:
With New Zealand having one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world, regular application of sunscreen can reduce the risk of melanoma by about 50%. Avoid going out during midday peak UV levels, which can be up to 3 times more intense than in the morning or late afternoon.
Ignoring the pain:
ACC data shows a significant increase in claims for untreated or ignored injuries after summer. Use the PEACE & LOVE method to manage initial injury more effectively in the theme of good summer times.
Camping and sleeping differently:
According to ACC data, there are thousands of camping-related injuries each year, with many due to sleeping discomforts or strains from setting up tents. When sleeping, investing in a good mat or cot can reduce the risk of back-related complaints by a significant margin. Quality sleep can reduce daytime fatigue, significantly contributing to summer injuries.
By following these tips, you can help ensure that your summer in New Zealand is full of joy and injuries-free. Remember to stay safe and enjoy the Kiwi sun.
- Water Safety New Zealand (2022). Annual Report 2021/22.
- ACC (2022). Summer injury trends.
- New Zealand Transport Agency (2022). Road safety data.
- Cancer Society of New Zealand. Skin cancer.
- Dubois, B., & Esculier, J.-F. (n.d.). soft-tissue injuries simply need peace and love.
- NZ Police Summer Road Accident Report (2023)
- ACC (2023). Preventing camping injuries.