Ask the Doctors
Welcome to the online Q&A with a few of our local doctors. Each month we will have several local experts in the health & wellness field answer your questions. If you have a question you’d like to pose, please email us at [email protected]
Question: It’s Spring time and people are wanting to get out and more active. What are some of your recommendations on how they should ease into activity?
As the weather warms, it’s natural to want to get out in the sun and be active. If you’re young and fit, or if you have kept your conditioning over the winter, there is not a great deal to say, other than to keep hydrated and use sunscreen.
With the coming of spring, it’s time to return outdoors and exercise. For many of us this abrupt transition to higher doses of physical activity can result in injury if not managed properly. Such injuries are typically overuse in nature, caused by excessive demand placed on tissues that are not given sufficient time to adapt to the activity.
Although the risk cannot be entirely eliminated, here are a few key tips to reduce the likelihood for an exercise related injury:
- Start slow. This is the most important element of prevention. Use a graded exercise program to achieve fitness gradually, and then maintain it year round.
- Warm up before you exercise and cool down afterwards.
- Use proper equipment. It is particularly important to have supportive, well-fitting shoes for weight-bearing activities.
- Use proper technique. Consider expert instruction to ensure good mechanics and overall performance.
- Don’t overdo it. Incorporate adequate rest in between workouts. This is especially true when just getting started. Alternate between difficult and easier sessions, and vary your routine so that you use different parts of your body.
If prevention fails, early detection is the next line of defense. Be alert for symptoms. A bit of soreness and stiffness is normal, but pain, swelling, diminished strength or mobility and discoloration of the skin is not. If your symptoms fail to improve despite rest and activity modification, seek help from a medical professional. A physical therapist can report to your physician to ensure a team approach is utilized in your care.
Dr. Ebbecke is a 1996 graduate of Shenandoah University and earned his Board Certification in Orthopedic Physical Therapy (OCS) in 2006. He has a special interest in biomechanical problems in the lower extremities and preventing injuries in athletes and is a certified FMS exercise specialist. Learn more at piedmontpt.com.
For my clients, I always stress the importance of starting out slowly. If you’re not used to the physical activity, be prepared for new aches and pains as your body adjusts to the new activities. Simply working into a daily walking program for 20 minutes a day can do wonders for your energy levels. Lengthen the distance or time as you build up to it. Even better, try new paths and learn more about our lovely area.
Also, try some new foods that have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body. Whole foods from Mother Nature are a great source of new flavors and energy. (And, you can combine your new walking routine with checking out the local farmer’s market!)
Lastly, if you’re already identifying some aches and pains, look into a few supplements that could potentially help. A pharmaceutical grade glucosamine with curcumin may help maintain healthy cartilage and joints.
Prince William native Stacia Kelly has a doctorate in holistic health and a background in fitness, nutrition, stress management and nutritional supplementation. For more information about her, visit www.staciakelly.com and facebook.com/StaciaDKelly.
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
**Please check with your regular physician before beginning any physical activity or new programs.