How to stay injury-free this spring
It’s that time of year again… The sun is shining, birds are chirping, and walking shoes and bike helmets are finally coming out of storage! Staying active is always a great idea, but there is a risk of injury as we jump back into warm-weather activities. Here are a few tips to stay injury-free this spring:
1 – Check your equipment
Shoes and orthotics should generally be replaced every two years. Bike helmets should be replaced after EVERY impact – even if you can’t see any scratches or dents on the surface. Sports equipment should be thoroughly checked before game day to ensure it survived storage.
2 – Ease into it
You’ll want to gradually increase the demand on your body so you don’t get hurt. A good general rule is to start at 50% of what you were doing last year, and increase by 10-20% a week as long as you feel good. This can apply to mileage, speed, duration, and frequency of your activity.
3 – Warm up
This is key! Aim for 5-10 minutes of easy-moderate intensity movement at the beginning of exercise to allow your body to literally warm up and get ready. A brisk walk or jog works well for most activities.
4 – Cool down
Static (unmoving) stretches will lower your heart and breathing rate, so are best done after your activity. Aim for a 60 second stretch of all major body parts. This can help reduce post-workout muscle soreness. Stretching can also be incorporated throughout the day to help keep things loose and ready to go for next time.
Your health care provider can tell you exactly which stretches and exercises are best for you, so that you can stay healthy and active all season long. Enjoy!
Fradkin AJ, Gabbe BJ, & Cameron PA. Does warming up prevent injury in sport? The evidence from randomised controlled trials. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport 2006;9,3:214-220.
Jamtvedt G, Herbert RD, Flottorp S, et al. A pragmatic randomised trial of stretching before and after physical activity to prevent injury and soreness. British Journal of Sports Medicine 2010;44:1002-1009.