Winter Couch Potatoes Have More Spring Injuries
The weather we have been experiencing this year has kept most of the health and outdoor exercise related advice I've given centered on shoveling, skiing and cold/snow related activities. Brief showings of the sun and warmth have been seen thru the clouds and snow, however, and we all know the wonderful Sierra Spring weather is just around the corner and hiding just beyond that next storm, enticing everyone to get moving outdoors. So my advice this month is for the winter couch potatoes who decide to get active once things begin to warm up. You may be at risk for injury if you don't take the proper steps to safely get into shape.
Evaluations Before Starting Exercise/Sports are Valuable
Before you begin any exercise program or new sport, it is beneficial to get an assessment of your physical condition, including weight and cardiovascular fitness. It may even be the best time to get your annual physical, and don't forget to include your chiropractic exam to determine the needs of your nerve and musculo-skeletal systems to see if they match your goals for the sports and nice weather activities that are on the horizon for your participation.
Take Time to Prepare
Once you have been cleared to start exercising after treatment for any existing injuries or conditions, I also recommend you spend three weeks working on areas such as strength and flexibility to prepare before taking part in any new sports or activities. This preparation may include things such as working out at the gym, climbing stairs, doing recommended exercises, or even walking.
Chiropractic Adjustments to Ankles, Wrists, Elbows, and Spine
An important action to remember is to take steps to prevent chronic injuries or re-injuries. If you have a tendency to continually sprain your ankle, while playing softball, or jogging, for example, let us know. There may be an area that needs our attention to allow for better movement, and therefore, bring strength to that area. Chiropractic adjustments can be given to your ankles, wrists and other joints, including your entire spine, which can not only help repair recurring injuries, but strengthen the areas, as well.
Have a Chiropractic Advisor on Your Team
As your health care coach, I can recommend specific exercises or supports, for your "problem areas", as well. The goal is to prevent injuries and allow for you to fully participate and enjoy your activity or chosen sport. For the serious athlete, whether it be bicycle racing, swimming, baseball, hiking, or even gardening, we can also work together on increasing performance levels. The majority of sports teams and athletics have chiropractors on staff or as health advisors. You, your family or team can benefit from all that the chiropractic profession has learned from the valuable experience of working with top class athletes as well as enthusiasts like yourselves.
Vary Exercise Levels
I encourage exercises with a variable level of increased performance skills, alternating distances and skill levels. Add exercises which increase flexibility and reflexes. And everyone can benefit from exercises which increase cardio endurance by adding an incline or stairs to your walking or running time.
Additional Suggestions for Safe Spring Sports and Activities
One of the most important reminders is to take at least 10 minutes to warm up (stretching and loosening up) before any physical activity and 10 minutes cooling down afterwards; drink plenty of water with a little added electrolites to replace any which is lost in sweating, and monitor your progress and physical condition in order to improve your performance/results. Wear the appropriate footwear, headwear, eyewear and any other recommended protective equipment for your chosen activity to help prevent serious injuries.