It’s a new year and like many others, you set out with the best of intentions to create a fitness or weight loss routine to counteract the consumption of all those holiday treats, eggnog, cocktails, and even that whole fruitcake you won’t admit you ate as a midnight snack. Or, perhaps the guilt has set in from spending the past year binge-watching Netflix rather than taking the opportunity to go to the gym or take a walk outside. While resolving to get in shape and put a higher emphasis on your physical health is always a great move, there are safeguards to consider that may help you avoid injury, especially if you need to “brush the rust off” or “haven’t greased the wheels” in a while.
“If you have been inactive for a while, it is important to be safe and go slow,” says Scott Greenberg, D.O. board certified Orthopedic Surgeon at Physicians Regional Medical Group. “Injuries can occur as a result of overuse, poor form, or accident.” The Consumer Products and Safety Commission estimated more than 500,000 exercise and exercise equipment related injuries in 2017.1 “We see a lot of overuse injuries like tennis elbow, rotator cuff tendinitis, and Achilles tendinitis in our local population,” says Dr. Greenberg. Fortunately, there are some prevention strategies that can help lower the odds of getting injured. Dr. Greenberg offers the following tips:
1) Gradually increase your exercise intensity. Going safe and slow will win the race while going too hard and too fast can potentially lead to muscle strains and sprains or bone injuries.
2) In general, it is good to include all types of exercises and to practice them with good form. Don’t be afraid to ask for guidance or instruction from a trainer or therapist.
3) Warm up and warm down, and be sure to stretch before and after activity. Especially as we age, our joints are less flexible and become more susceptible to injury. A good rule of thumb is that warm muscles will stretch and cold muscles will tear.
4) Be mindful of your joints and consider lower impact exercises. Constant pounding like running on hard pavement or a treadmill can take their toll on your joints over time.
5) Listen to your body and take necessary actions when you have sustained an injury. Sometimes you may not be aware of the injury until after you are done exercising. If in doubt of what to do or how involved an injury may be, seek medical attention with your Primary Care Physician or Orthopedic Surgeon.
Regular exercise can help to maintain flexibility and build muscle. There is also good evidence showing that weight-bearing and resistance exercises, such as walking or weight training, can build bone health and limit the effects of osteoporosis. Answering the call for age-appropriate and safe exercise this year can not only help save on expensive medical bills, but is essential in our overall wellbeing. “Exercise is something that people need to make time for. It can be enjoyable and stress-relieving, and it can allow for a longer, more productive life, especially as we get older,” says Dr. Greenberg. “Common sense and good judgment are necessary to help limit injuries and maximize gains.” Dr. Greenberg adds that it is always important to seek the advice from your physician as to how much and what type of exercise activity you should do.
Scott Greenberg, D.O.
Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon
Dr. Greenberg’s offices are located in Naples at Physicians Regional – Collier Blvd, 8340 Collier Blvd, Naples and at Physicians Regional-Bonita Springs, 24231 Walden Center Drive, Bonita Springs. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 239-348-4221, or schedule online at www.PhysiciansRegionalMedicalGroup.com