The Polar Vortex had Cincinnati in a deep freeze for weeks, which probably kept you in hibernation. Now, however, you’re ready to get active.
Roberta Kern MD, a family medicine doctor at TriHealth Priority Care, explains why you’re prone to injury when you start exercising after you’ve had time off and shares a few tips for safely getting back into it.
Exercise Injuries: What’s the Cause?
“You’ve been inactive and your body’s not used to that activity, so a lot of times, flexibility is one of the biggest issues,” Dr. Kern explains. “Otherwise, it’s just deconditioning.” Weight gain can make you more vulnerable to these issues as well, because you’re body isn’t used to exercising with the additional pounds.
These types of injuries can occur at any age, but you start becoming more susceptible to them in your 30s and 40s, and the risk increases as you age.
How to Avoid Injuries
#1: Ask a Professional
If you’ve decided that you want to start a new exercise regimen, like running, CrossFit, or yoga, it’s smart to seek professional advice from a personal trainer, fitness class instructor or running coach. You want to ease into these activities to help re-adjust your body to the new routine.
#2: Enroll in a Running Program
Road races and mud runs are popular during the spring and summer months. If you’re a newbie and want to train for one of these events, you may want to try local resources. Several specialty shoe stores in Cincinnati have run/walk training programs that cater to different experience levels.
On the other hand, there are mobile apps available that can help you get back into exercise, like the Couch-to-5K Running Plan, for example. “People can use these to help with that transition, to make sure you’re not pushing too fast, too soon,” Dr. Kern points out.
#3: Listen to Your Body
In general, Dr. Kern stresses the importance of listening to your body. While a little bit of post-exercise soreness is okay, and often normal, “as soreness becomes more pain, or the intensity of the soreness increases or doesn’t go away with time, then I’d get concerned,” she says.
In these cases, you can schedule an appointment with your doctor, or walk into TriHealth Priority Care, which is convenient in urgent cases when you simply can’t wait a week or two for an appointment with your primary care doctor. “[Priority Care offers] more medical guidance if there are time constraints,” Dr. Kern explains. When your body starts squawking at you and it’s not making sense, and [over-the-counter] medicines aren’t helping, we’re here to help."