As the winter comes to a close and the days become longer, Mahoning Valley residents are ready to get outdoors and begin warm weather activities.
Unfortunately, our bodies have been in hibernation and need to transition into sports activity and springtime chores. So it is important to begin the transition slowly to avoid injury, says DR. THOMAS A. JOSEPH, an orthopedic surgeon with Youngstown Orthopaedic Associates.
“Stretching and not overdoing it are two ways to minimize the risk of injuries,” Dr. Joseph said. “In our geographic area, there is often a tendency to hit the ground running once weather permits.”
When the golf courses and baseball diamonds call our names, here are some tips to keep in mind when we answer those calls.
Stretch your muscles
Even if you’re just pulling weeds, stretching is important. From football to baseball and even yard work, the skeletal frame and muscles are impacted with stress of reaching, pulling, pushing and lifting.
“By stretching you are lengthening muscles and stimulating nutrient flow to muscles,” Dr. Joseph said.
This increased nutrient flow allows muscles to be more agile and less likely to be sore after a day of training at the gym or working in the yard.
Know your body
No one knows you better than you. By paying attention to your body’s signals, you will be less likely to be sore the next day.
“If you begin to experience pain or tenderness, stop the activity,” Dr. Joseph said. “Remember REST can be your friend. Resting for a period of time allows the body to heal.”
He suggests this progression: First, rest. Then, ice. Then, upon a doctor’s recommendation, anti-inflammatory medicines.
This will help keep nutrients circulating within the body.
“Electrolytes and minerals are vital to healthy muscles and bones,” Dr. Joseph said. “Dehydration contributes to muscle cramping and fatigue. A well hydrated athlete enters the game with a full tank and will have greater reserve.”
If pain or discomfort from springtime activity arises and persists, ask your physician for a referral to Youngstown Orthopaedic Associates. Our team of board-certified physicians, physical therapists and imaging specialists is here to help.