Four Ways to Avoid Injury When Exercising Outdoors
While we’ve written about workouts you can do at home (link) and ways to avoid discomfort (link) by working from home, it’s also important to realize that in your quest to get fresh air and exercise, you may end up facing some common spring-time injuries. Here’s how to stay active and help prevent injury:
Pace Yourself: If you’ve been outside lately, you’ve probably noticed a lot of other people are getting outside too! You may have dusted off your bike, broken out some running shoes, or decided to give your local park (if it’s open) a visit. Many people are more ambitious than their fitness level, and that’s one of the top reasons for injury this time of year: overuse – or doing too much, too soon.
Start low and slow. You don’t have to mimic the Tour de France riders on your first day out, or try to beat an elite runner’s Boston race pace. If you find a great place to hike, you can cut your route short in order to keep yourself from overdoing it. Basically, “easy does it” when you’re getting in shape once the weather changes. This year, we’re all a little stir-crazy indoors, but think how much more frustrated you’ll be if you’re stuck inside with an injury!
Warm Up Right: Don’t be so eager to get out the door that you aren’t properly warmed up. Do some light stretching, paying attention to areas that feel particularly tight. Ease into your work out, instead of going right into it full speed. You’ll allow your muscles time to adjust and help reduce your injury risk.
Dress for the Weather: Spring in the Midwest can be fickle! Avoid cotton in favor of synthetic, wicking materials – especially for your socks. If you’re running or hiking, this can help prevent chafing and blisters that can cause discomfort, change your movement, risk injury, and just plain ruin your day. P.S. Remember your sunblock!
Don’t Ignore Pain: We’ve said it before (link), pain is your body’s “check engine” light. If your outdoor exercise is a struggle because you’re hurting, don’t try to push through pain. As a good rule of thumb, any mild discomfort that loosens up and goes away with activity is less concerning than discomfort that persists or worsens. If you have persistent or worsening pain, especially with activity, it’s time to stop what you’re doing and find out what’s going on – so you can be sure to enjoy the rest of your outdoor season.
While the parks and sidewalks are busy with people trying to get some fresh air and sunshine, be sure to avoid injury by playing it safe and smart. If you’re struggling with pain, movement issues, or problems of the musculoskeletal system, physical therapy is the ideal way to receive both diagnosis and treatment by an expert in the field. Physical therapy has been recognized as an essential service, and Body One Physical Therapy is doing our part to help keep clients healthy and feeling good during this current health challenge. Call Body One today and make an appointment at one of our three locally-owned and operated, convenient locations: North Indianapolis/Carmel, Fishers, and Zionsville. Since Spring has sprung, don’t let a sprung muscle or irritated joint ruin it – call Body One today!