Preventing Injuries by Mastering the Art of a Balanced Summer

“Oh, the glorious summer days are near! 

Oh, the long sunny says and nights for endless grilling and bonfires. 
Oh, feel the warm temperatures making the lakes look so refreshing for a dip.
Oh, count how many mountain and trails are open for hiking and camping. 
Oh, see the mountain bike trails are cleared for riding on single tracks. 

Oh, count how many running races are up for grabs! 


How can we prevent injury so we can do it all? By Mastering the Art of a Balanced Summer! Intrigued? Keep reading…   


Alaskan FOMO... it's a real thing

Alaska may be one of the hardest states to become a master in the art of a balanced summer. Being an AK newbie, I hear the, “Oh, I want to do it all!” chatter often. Not only from the voice in my head, but also from all my neighbors, clients, and fellow hikers who are all saying the SAME thing! Let’s face it, there is no better place than Alaska in the summer. We want to camp, backpack, hike, paddle, fish, run, race, bike, the list goes on… but mostly, we do NOT want to miss any of it! 

What makes Alaskan athlete's unique?

I laugh because I came from the east coast, where as a physical therapist, I encouraged my patients to go outside and exercise, and had several athletic patients who stuck to ONE sport/hobby. Next, I moved to Colorado, and saw people valuing their ONE favorite outdoor sport, maybe a couple more, and making time for it. Finally, I moved to Alaska on June 21st, 2021 (almost one year anniversary, yippee!), and it’s baffling how everybody wants to do EVERYTHING! 

I hear my patients saying things like, “I like to downhill ski, cross country ski, backcountry ski, mountain bike, ride snow-machines, run, climb, swim, fish, and I think I want to try mountain running races this summer too! …BUT my knee has been bothering me and I don’t know why.”  

Being an incognito motivator

When I hear this, I have found that I need to shift roles slightly from a PT to a motivator. I often feel like a jockey on a horse pulling in the reins. If you want to “do it all,” sometime, less is more. Wait… what? 

Hear me out. I have broken it down into 3 simple steps…  

The Art of a Balanced Summer 101

  1. Rest and Recovery 
  2. Include Recreational Activities 
  3. Add Specific Strength Training 
Finding balance in rest and recovery, recreational activities and specific strength training is an art! 

1. Rest & Recovery

Without rest and recovery, injury is bound to happen. Our bodies need that time to regenerate and to be ready for our next adventure. If you are feeling sluggish, it’s a sign to reset your alarm and allow for extra zzz’s, schedule that sports massage, or simply take a day off to recover. Trust me, your body will thank you for it! 

2. Include Recreational Activities

I tell my clients to focus on their FAVORITE activities that make them the happiest and live life to the fullest, but don’t be afraid to include other forms of exercise. Cross training is such a great way to switch up the use of muscle groups, improve endurance, and overall help your body stay feeling good! 

3. Add Specific Strength Training

When it comes to injury prevention, I can’t stress the importance of specific strength training enough! A “smart” strength training program looks different for each athlete. A marathon runner, for example, will benefit from a much different training program than a rock climber. One of the best ways to maintain balance is to design and stick to a training program that is SPECIFIC to your sport(s) and goals. The program must include all aspects of “a balanced summer” to avoid overloading. 

By the way, If you are a runner looking for sport specific strength training for injury prevention, check out my NEW 6-Week Small Group PT Class: STRONG STRIDES! 

In the few months I’ve lived in Alaska, I’ve learned that summer is short, and I am here for it! I hope you’ll join me in ENJOYING EVERY MINUTE OF IT! 

Hope to see you out there “Masting the Art of a Balanced Summer” this season!

Screen Shot 2022 04 28 at 12.15.26 PM

(Left) Natalie, on the Crow Pass trail, July 2021. She ran up to the Raven Glacier and sprinted down hill with thrill as her first experience of an out-and-back Alaskan mountain run. (AKA- overdoing it!)

Spoiler alert: She sustained a right ankle peroneal tendonitis injury that postponed her first half marathon race in August.  After doing her own PT, she successfully completed her first half-marathon in October.

Need some help Mastering the Art of A Balanced Summer?

Check out our 4-Week At-Home PT-Guided Exercise Program lead by Natalie! In the program, she will help and design a workout program, painting a beautiful art of balanced summer workout uniquely for you and your sport/hobby!

natalie synder

By Natalie Snyder, PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS

Board-Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialists
Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialists
Shoulder Specialists & Female Athlete Specialist


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