As we write, the day hasn’t arrived. It’s the day each year when for the first time. Temperatures are warm enough to tell you spring is unmistakably here. It’s also the day when your body might be at high risk of injury.
On that day, or those days, otherwise known as the first sign of spring, you’re happy just to be able to go outside without wrapping up from head to toe in toques, parkas, and mukluks. And that happiness can translate into trying to enjoy all the things you couldn’t do in the winter, like going for a bike ride, or clearing up the lawn, or just going for a long walk.
It feels great. But it might end up making you feel pain.
Why Your Body is at Higher Risk of Injury in the Spring
You know what it feels like to get up off the couch after a Netflix binge session. The first few steps seem to take a lot of effort. You might be a little off balance and your joints seem stiff.
If you got up really fast, you’d be even less stable and stiffer, and you might actually lose your balance.
Unless you managed to stay active all winter, getting outside for some much needed fresh air after a long winter is similar to getting up after sitting or lying down for an extended period.
Except when you go for a jog or hike, it’s like getting up off the couch too fast. Your body isn’t ready for it and that increases your risk of muscle strains, ligament injuries, even cardiac issues.
How to Avoid Injuries in the Spring
In a nutshell, the idea is to avoid going from being relatively sedentary straight into a full-on exercise program or strenuous activities.
But that’s a little easier said than done.
By taking things slowly and following some of the guidelines below, you can quickly, safely and painlessly return to your summertime activity levels with lower risk of injuries.
1. Use the 10% Rule
The 10% rule is designed to stop you from doing too much too soon. When starting and changing your activity levels, never increase your activity by more than 10% per week. If you’re heading out for the first time after the winter, maybe just stick to short warm-ups and walks.
2. Always Warm-Up
This is true every time you exercise, but it’s far more important in springtime. Not only do warm-up exercises get your body in shape for whatever activity you are about to do, the cumulative effect of warming up every day also helps your body get back into shape.
3. Start Small
If you walk the dog, go for a long walk. If you haven’t done anything for four months or more, try to not strain your body at all. If you decide to do some gardening, don’t shovel up a heavy mound of dirt. Work slowly and mindfully.
4. Add Variety to Your Activities
If you start to walk more in the spring, and all you do is walk, if you suddenly get into a game of hoops, other parts of your body might not be up to the challenge. Try to vary your activities so you get all your muscles and joints out of the slumber they’ve been in for so long.
Pardon the pun, but it wouldn’t ‘hurt’ to practice a little preventative maintenance on your body to help avoid injuries this spring. Visiting PinPoint Health for expert massage therapy that will help get your body get ready to enjoy the warm weather and a return to full activity.