Spring is finally here, and with it comes the warm weather, sports, and the great outdoors! For many people, spring is the yearly reminder to get outside and get active. While it is tempting to jump back into action after so many months indoors, it is important to remember that your body may need some time to acclimate to the amount of exercise again. It is common for us to reduce or even completely stop our exercise habits during the winter months, and if we hop back into our sports, hobbies, or other warm-weather activities without proper preparation, we may be increasing our chances for injury.
COMMON ACTIVITIES ASSOCIATED WITH SPRING-TIME INJURIES:
Now I am not saying running and walking is bad, or that you will hurt yourself, but I am saying that it is important to listen to your body and prepare yourself properly. Remember that even if you have been keeping active during the winter using a treadmill indoors, that running, or walking on pavement is not as easy on your body. You may not be able to go as far, or as long as you typically do. Take the time to warm up your body with some dynamic stretches, jumping jacks, or some lunges. This will wake up your body on a neuromuscular level and increase blood flow to important areas.
2. Sports (basketball, tennis, golf)
Nothing feels better than getting on the field or court after a long time away. Just like runners, stretching and proper warm-up is important before you throw yourself back in. Injuries to the shoulder and neck are especially common in these sports and extra focus should be taken when warming up to reduce the chance of injury.
3. Gardening and yard work
Yes! Getting your lawn or garden into tip-top shape is hard work and your body feels it! The repetitive movement of digging, pruning, reaching, and kneeling is all stressful on the body. I may sound like a broken record, but I will say it again, STRETCH those muscles and get that blood flowing! Back strain is common and almost expected when it comes to gardening. Try to keep your back straight and bend at the knees to avoid muscle strains. Consider using long-handled tools to reduce the amount of twisting and bending you are doing. If you have to get down in the dirt while planting, a stool may be helpful, or a towel under your knees can help prevent knee pain.
QUICK TIPS TO AVOID INJURIES
1. Use the proper tool, whether it be a new pair of sneakers, knee or elbow pads, or proper gardening tools, make sure you are using tools that work with your body, not against it.
2. Understand that it is okay not to be at the same level of activity as you were last year. Work at building yourself back up to where you were slowly and avoid pushing yourself.
3. Listen to your body! If you need an extra rest day, to reduce your exercise level, do it.
Most importantly, if you do injure yourself, seek out medical care. See your massage therapist, naturopathic doctor, general practitioner, or other trusted health care professional. Treat the issue, and try to determine what went wrong, how to avoid it in the future, and how to get back to doing what you love as soon as possible.
· 1. Rattray, Fiona; Ludwig, Linda (2005). Clinical Massage Therapy. Canada. Talus Incorporated
· 2. Fritz, Sandy; Fritz, Luke (2020). Mosby's fundamentals of therapeutic massage. Canada. Elsevier