You’re tired of being cooped up inside all winter and are chomping at the bit to get outside and get that taste of spring. But before you jog that first mile, tee up that drive or hop on your bike, you need to make sure your body is prepared.
There’s nothing worse than wanting to rev up your activity level, yet suffer an injury that could set you back weeks or even months.
For Dr. Sean Bak, an Orthopedic Surgeon at Motor City Orthopedics in Novi, it’s all about not doing too much too soon. Obviously, we are all excited when the snow melts and temperatures rise above 40 degrees, but we need to temper that excitement and make sure we prepare our bodies.
“It’s about gradually building up your endurance and making sure you always warm up and stretch,” said Bak. “Also, even though it is cold outside, it is extremely important to stay hydrated. Everyone does that in the summer, but in the spring they don’t pay attention to it. You need hydration all the time.”
Bak said while treadmills and exercise bikes do a decent job of keeping you in shape, there is “no substitute for being outside.”
If you’re a runner, it’s not wise to log a ton of miles on your first few times out. Start with walking for a few days, then some light jogging before you ramp up your speed and miles. Soreness is common, but when you feel sore you shouldn’t just push through it, says Bak. The acronym RICE – Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation – is a good one to remember and can help you return to action sooner.
“You probably ramped things up too quickly,” he said. “You need to scale it back and things should start to feel better. You can’t be doing what you would do in July in March.”
For runners and walkers alike, it’s vital to have a good pair of shoes. Runners should get their shoes from a specialty store that can ensure a good fit, and change them out once they start to show considerable wear. Bak said the shock absorption of quality shoes doesn’t just help feet and ankles but knees, hips and the entire lower body as a whole.
If golf or tennis are your primary spring sports, ease into those as well. It wouldn’t be wise to hit 100 golf shots or tennis serves without properly preparing your body for those actions. Start slow and be sure to incorporate stretching and strength work into your regular routine.
Now you’ve followed all these tips and yet you still are experiencing pain and possibly some swelling. Don’t ignore the red flags. In all but very mild cases, a doctor should evaluate your injury and help put you on a path to recovery.
That is where Bak and Motor City Orthopedics come in. Joining him in the practice are Orthopedic Surgeons Dr. Todd Frush and Dr. David Knesek and Sports Medicine Specialist Dr. Nick Moore. The four experts are leaders in their field and each specializes in a specific part of the body.
“We try to individualize your care and address your individual needs and goals,” said Bak.
To learn more about the practice, visit motorcityorthopedics.com