With spring now rolling along, and after the treacherous winter the East Coast suffered through, the warmer temperatures are sure to send people outdoors in droves to bask in the sunshine and resume all the activities that simply weren’t possible over the past few months.
Running, biking, golf, tennis and baseball are but just a few of the many options people will be picking back up now that the weather finally allows for them. While any outdoor activity is a healthy choice and strongly encouraged, Cleveland Physical Therapy Associates advises you to take your time and resist the urge to jump back into your routine too quickly, or you may run the risk of an overuse injury.
Overuse injuries occur from repeated motions when the demand on the muscle or bone is greater than it can absorb, and they are especially common this time of year. The reason is that many people are often eager to pick up their training or activities right where they left off at the end of last season. Unfortunately, even if you’ve been exercising in the gym with some sort of adjusted regimen in the colder months, switching to outdoor activities will engage your muscles and joints in ways that they may not be ready for, and this can lead to injury.
Common overuse injuries this time of year include runner’s knee, plantar fasciitis, low back pain, tennis shoulder and rotator cuff tendinitis, and vary by sport/activity. The good news is that many of these injuries can be prevented if some basic precautionary measures are taken as you start your routine again this spring:
- Start out slowly: this is the most vital point to keep in mind; avoid all out efforts and gradually increase intensity until your build a solid base
- Stretch, especially the major muscle groups in the back, arms and legs, before AND after any exercise, for about 20 minutes total
- Ensure you’re using shoes and other equipment that’s not worn out and up-to-date, and replace them accordingly if need be
- Hydrate sufficiently before, during and after exercising
- Don’t exercise with any lingering pain beyond minor aches or soreness; this can be a sign of the onset of a more severe injury
- Vary workouts with some cross-training options like weight training, hiking or boot camp to limit the stress on specific muscle groups
- Follow a training program and keep track of your adherence and progress
- Strength training routines may also be helpful to build back up the muscles that haven’t been used over the past few months.
If you’re excited about the onset of spring and can’t wait to get active outdoors but don’t want to find yourself back inside due to an injury, Cleveland Physical Therapy Associates can help guide you through this transitional process. With our two convenient locations in Shelby and Kings Mountain, NC, we’ll be glad to assist you with some important advice. Call 704-471-0001 to schedule an appointment.