Spring is (hopefully) just around the corner, and the cold will soon be on its way out! For many people, spring is the time to get up and get outside to actively enjoy the sunshine. While an active lifestyle is encouraged, if you “spring” into activity too fast there could be some serious consequences. With that in mind, here are some friendly reminders to play it safe:
If it has been some time since participating in an activity, slowly ease back into it to reduce the risk of an injury. Light exercise, like leisurely walking, can help build stamina. Gradually increase the intensity level before you actively jump into a new activity. It is important to be comfortable with moderately intense physical activity before participating in a vigorous activity.
Hard Day, Easy Day
Maximum gains in conditioning are best obtained when appropriate rest is allowed along with exercise. Inadequate rest increases the probability of sustaining an injury, therefore, an intense workout should be followed by a lighter workout the next day. Always remember that your body makes gains in strength and endurance during recovery. If you don't provide time for recovery, the body can break down.
Warm Up and Stretch
Warming up and stretching go hand in hand, but it is important to remember that they are different from one another. Sports injuries are most commonly caused by improper warm ups. Warm up with a low level activity like jump rope or jumping jacks before you stretch. Warm ups raise muscle temperatures, which prepare the whole body for physical activity, and thus reduces the risk of a sports injury. Warm up for a minimum of 5 to 10 minutes so the body can prepare for an activity.
Stretching improves blood circulation, in turn increasing flexibility, and continue to raise muscle temperatures after a warm up. When you stretch, hold each stretch for 20-30 seconds. Each stretch should only be done once. If a person stretches a muscle before a proper warm up, the muscle will still be cold, and make the person more susceptible to injury.
Use Proper Techniques
Many sports require the use of different techniques. Learn the correct technique that is associated with a sport to lessen the risk of sports-related injuries to tendons, bones, and muscles. If you are unsure of what techniques you are supposed to use, talk with your coach or ask a professional to help you.
Recognize the Symptoms of Overuse Injuries
Overuse injuries can be prevented if you are familiar with the progression of injury, in addition to modifying your workout prior to the onset of injury. Overuse injuries usually progress through stages, which include:
In the unfortunate event that you do obtain an injury, we recommend using treating using RICE+AR:
Rest- Determine a level of exercise, which produces only benevolent pain, and provides relative rest. This may require complete rest from the exercise program for a few days or possibly cross training with a different sport.
Ice- Apply an ice pack several times a day for about 15 minutes at a time. This is especially important during the first 24 to 48 hours after injury.
Compression- Apply an elastic wrap with comfortably firm pressure during and after ice application. Remove the wrap during sleep.
Elevation- Elevate the injured area above the level of the heart whenever possible.
Anti-inflammatory- Medication such as aspirin or ibuprofen can also be used to assist in the reduction of the inflammation.
Re-conditionstretching and a gradual progression to strength training and gradual return to activity. If improvement is not felt in three to five days, please contact us for an evaluation to avoid further injury.
The most effective treatment for spring related injury is prevention. Your brain may be telling you that you’re pumped to get outside and give it all you’ve got, but your body could be telling you otherwise. Take it slow while the body adjusts, and make sure to use suitable equipment. Should you find yourself with an injury, however, don't delay in contacting us for an evaluation, so you can quickly return to your activity injury-free!