March is Brain Injury Awareness Month. According to the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, there are more than 200,000 cases of traumatic brain injuries in the U.S. every year. It mostly affects people ages 14 and up. With spring just around the corner, it’s important to be conscious of decisions when starting to head outdoors for activities. Here are some tips to prevent head injuries while you are enjoying the spring weather.
We are creatures of habit. Some things become so instinctual to us after a while that we barely think about them anymore. Activities like driving, walking and talking are all things that we do without really thinking about them. Challenge yourself to be more aware of your surroundings during activities that could be potentially dangerous. Make sure you really spend the time to look both ways before you cross the street or look where you step while you are hiking. These are simple things that we do every day, but in different environments, we need to take a little more care.
Wear a helmet
Helmets are considered lame, but since falls are the leading of cause of brain injury, that uncool helmet might just save your life. Find a helmet that fits snug on your head. The cushion in the helmet will lessen the impact of a fall or a crash. In a study done by Robert S. Thompson, helmets reduced the risk of head injuries by 66 to 88 percent for all ages. Keep yourself safe by wearing a helmet in activities like bicycling, motorcycle riding, and activities at high altitudes with obstacles like zip lining and rock climbing.
Stretch it out
In a recent study done on the effects of stretching before playing football by Ryzen Benson, Utah high school football teams that did not use isometric neck stretches before practice or a game were found to be five times more likely to have a concussion. High contact activities can be damaging to your body, so look up some isometric neck stretches to loosen up your muscles before you play. The brain is one of the most vital organs in our bodies.
Take a little time to remember why staying safe is important and make the changes to live a healthier life and remind others to do the same.