Break a sweat without injuries

For many, a new year includes making resolutions to lose weight and improve your health. This means incorporating exercise into your daily routine. However, before you lace up your tennis shoes and start pounding the pavement, it’s important to make sure you are taking the necessary steps to stay safe while being active.

Research shows that 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous intensity exercise each week is great for your mind and body, but according to the CDC, there are 3.5 million sports-related injuries each year in the U.S., and those are just the ones that require some form of medical attention.

Injuries can happen to anyone, no matter your age or the activity. Frank Moussa, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at HonorHealth Orthopedics, specializing in sports injuries, and Victoria Eby, DO, a sports medicine physician and independent member of the HonorHealth Medical Staff, provide insight into the steps you can take to prevent injuries from occurring.

An HonorHealth patient exercising

Get ready to be active

Starting slow is key. That way, you’ll build up your stamina and help your body get ready. “Perform dynamic stretches after you warm up, work up to your goal and make sure that you stretch after you work out to help your muscles recover, says Dr. Eby. “You should limit your stretching routine to less than 30 seconds for each muscle group to avoid stretching beyond your body’s natural limits, which can cause more harm than good.”

Another thing to consider is varying your workout routine. Our bodies like to be stressed in different ways and by changing things up, your workouts will be more enjoyable, productive and it will keep you engaged. In the end, you’ll have better physical conditioning and be less prone to repetitive overuse injuries.

Avoiding injuries

Not all injuries can be avoided, but taking care of yourself before, during and after you’re active will help. Eating a nutritious diet and staying hydrated are two habits that can really help your body reduce your chances of getting hurt.

“The best advice I can give is to maintain a general level of fitness and a healthy diet,” says Dr. Moussa. “Exercise and proper nutrition can help you achieve a healthy weight, which will put less stress on your body when you are being active and help you avoid an injury in the first place.”

Living in Arizona, we’re able to be active outdoors year-round, but even if you prefer being inside, keep in mind that staying hydrated is critical by:

  • Consuming 16-20 ounces of water an hour or two before physical activity
  • Continuing with 4-6 ounces of water every 15 minutes during activity
  • Drinking water after you are done working out
  • Adding electrolytes for longer workouts and outside activities

When it comes to an injury, always look at the trends. If your symptoms continue to get worse and you are hurting more and more despite giving it a rest, then it’s time to see a doctor. Remember, not all aches and pains will heal on their own.

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Need to see a specialist for a sports-related injury? Make an appointment today with one of our sports medicine specialists.

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