Summer is almost here, and that means it’s time for us to get outside and enjoy all the beautiful weather Minnesota has to offer. So whether you’re looking to become more active after being cooped up all winter or you’re trying to get back to peak athletic performance after an injury or surgery, it’s important that you approach things the right way. In today’s blog, we explain how you can safely get back to physical activity after an extended layoff so you don’t put yourself at risk of an injury.
Resuming Activity After A Long Break
Between last summer’s pandemic, the long winter and elective surgeries that are just now being performed because of pandemic delays, there is a very large portion of the population that has been more sedentary these last 6-9 months than they’ve ever been. This lack of activity was brought on by a collection of unique circumstances, but that doesn’t mean we can just expect to pick up right where we left off before the pandemic. Here are some tips for getting back to full activity after an extended layoff.
- Take It Slow – Don’t expect to be back to game speed after one practice, and don’t expect your first run of the year to feel great. That’s totally fine, and you need to acknowledge this so that you don’t push your body too far at the beginning. Really take it slow and build up your intensity, distance and tolerance. Don’t assume that tryouts will prepare you for the rigors of the season, because coaches will be pushing your body during tryouts and practices, and if you’re not prepared for this level of activity, injuries can develop. Take things slow as you work back to previous levels of activity.
- Listen To Your Body – As you challenge your body with more repetitions and mileage, be sure that you’re listening to your body to see how it responds to stress. Some soreness before or after activity is normal, but pain throughout the activity isn’t. Learn to listen to your body and stop if something just doesn’t feel right. A workout may make you feel uncomfortable at times, but there should never be shooting or constant pain. Call it for the day if pain develops.
- Be Sure To Cross Train – If you’re striving to run a half marathon or recovering after shoulder surgery, you may be hyper focused on strengthening certain areas of your body, like your legs or your shoulder. However, it’s very important that you cross train and develop a wide range of muscle groups evenly. You’d me amazed at how different areas of your body interact and rely on others for support, which is why areas like your back, your core and your hips shouldn’t be ignored even if you’re focused on improving one certain area of your body. Varying your workouts not only helps muscle groups develop evenly, but it avoids problems that can develop from repetitive stress if you strain the same muscles day in and day out.
- Warm Up – Just like it’s important to take it slow when it comes to building up your activity levels, it’s also important that you ease into activity, and the best way to do that is by stretching beforehand. We’re big proponents of active stretching instead of static stretching, which focuses on movement instead of stretches performed while standing still. Going for a walk, jogging or moving on the elliptical can all help slowly transition groups of muscles from an inactive to an active state.
- Connect With A Physical Therapist – If you want advice tailored to your specific situation and guidance from a professional along the way, connect with a physical therapist to aid in your return to activity. This is especially helpful after injury or surgery, because you’ll want to protect these areas and bring them along more slowly than others. We can help prepare you for activity while also reducing your likelihood of a setback.
So if you are ready to get back to some of the activities youn love this summer, be mindful about how you approach getting back into an exercise or activity routine. For help with any aspect of it, or if you run into any trouble along the way, connect with the staff at OrthoRehab Specialists today.