Our Hyattsville physical therapists encourage you to get active outdoors this spring

hyattsville physical therapists outdoor activities

March 15, 2016

Spring may not officially begin for another week, but it sure feels like the season has already arrived in Maryland. The changing of the season and emergence out of winter opens many doors—both literal and figurative—and finally allows us to enjoy some of our favorite outdoor activities. At CAM Physical Therapy and Wellness Services, our Hyattsville physical therapists urge you to enjoy this time and get active outside as we move into the spring.

Running, biking, golf, tennis and baseball are a few popular options that many are sure to pick back up now that the warmer weather will allow them. Others may enjoy rollerblading, kayaking, wakeboarding or hiking. All these outdoor activities are beneficial for your health and are strongly encouraged, but we recommend that you take your time while doing them. Potential problems tend to arise when people train too hard or too intensely for too long, or when jumping back into activities too quickly, and this can lead to a number of injuries.

Overuse injuries, which occur when muscles, joints and other body parts are overworked without enough time for recovery, are especially common this time of year. The main problem is that many people are eager to pick up their training or activities right where they left off. Unfortunately, even if you’ve been exercising in the gym or elsewhere with a modified routine over the winter, switching to outdoor activities will engage your muscles and joints in ways that they may not be ready for. As a result, they can be more vulnerable to a number of different injuries.

Common overuse injuries this time of year include runner’s knee, plantar fasciitis, low back pain, tennis elbow and rotator cuff tendinitis, although other injuries can occur in certain sports too. It’s important to be aware that many of these injuries can be prevented if some basic precautionary measures are taken as you start your routine again this spring:

  • Start out slowly: this is the most vital point to keep in mind; avoid all-out efforts and gradually increase intensity until you build a solid base
  • Aim to get about 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity (like brisk walking) or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity (jogging) each week
  • Ensure that your shoes and other equipment is up to date and not worn out, and replace them accordingly if need be
  • Stretch, especially the major muscle groups in your back, arms and legs, before and after any exercise, for about 20 minutes total
  • Hydrate sufficiently before, during and after exercising
  • Don’t exercise with any lingering pain beyond minor aches or soreness; this can be a signal of the onset of a more severe injury
  • Try exercising around the same time every day and make it a part of your routine
  • Vary your workouts with some cross-training options like weight training, hiking or a boot camp to limit the stress on specific muscle groups

If you’re excited about the onset of spring and can’t wait to get active outdoors but don’t want to find yourself limited by an injury, follow the advice of our Hyattsville physical therapists and ease back into your exercise regimen. Call CAM Physical Therapy and Wellness Services in Laurel, Glenn Dale/Bowie, Parkville/Baltimore and Hyattsville, MD at 301 853-0093 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

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