Keep Your Resolutions - Prevent Exercise Injuries
3 min. read
It’s that time of the year when many of us — about 45 percent of Americans — make a wish list of New Year’s resolutions.
Losing weight, spending less, saving more ─ staying fit and healthy rank in the top five resolutions, according to the University of Scranton, Journal of Clinical Psychology.
But how can you make good on those New Year’s promises?
The American Psychological Association says that if you make realistic resolutions, you have a greater chance of achieving your goals. The Association recommends these steps:
Michael Swartzon, M.D., a primary care orthopedic and sports medicine physician at Doctors Hospital and Baptist Health, agrees and says that when it comes to your exercise resolutions starting small is a good idea.
There are two different types of sports injuries — traumatic injuries (a fracture or a ligament tear) and overuse injuries, Dr. Swartzon says. “Overuse injuries are easier to prevent,” he says. “Start out slowly, and gradually increase the time, distance, intensity and frequency of your activity by no more than 10 percent as you become stronger and more flexible.”
If you are currently a couch potato, one of the best activities that you can do is walk, Dr. Swartzon says. Basic walking around the block in your neighborhood or spending 10-15 minutes on the treadmill are measurable activities that can be increased easily. Medical experts recommend walking as a way to prevent many diseases including diabetes, heart disease and obesity. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends 150 minutes of moderately intense activity each week and muscle-strengthening activities twice a week for adults. If you have a medical condition, it is important to be checked by a medical professional before you start any exercise program.
Dr. Swartzon recommends the following tips to prevent overuse injuries:
If You Are Injured:
“Listen to your body – let your pain be your guide. If you have pain, STOP! Don’t be a hero,” Dr. Swartzon says. “Treat your injury by practicing RICE.”
RICE is an acronym for rest, ice, compression and elevation. The term is used by medical professionals to prescribe four procedures you need to follow to treat injuries such as a sprain, strain or bone injury.
Be mindful of the pain and rest accordingly, especially when you attempt regular activities like working and walking.
Ice is an excellent treatment. Put ice on the injured area three or four times a day for 20 minutes. In the morning, after exercise (if you are able) and at bedtime are the best times.
Compression (wrapping the injury) will help control the swelling. It won’t heal your injury but it will relieve the swelling that can cause pain and limit your mobility.
It is important to elevate the injured limb above the heart. Elevation is recommended as often as possible.
“Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs are recommended,” says Dr. Swartzon. “Be aware of side effects, including an upset stomach or a spike in blood pressure. Avoid mixing medicine and alcohol. It is best to consult your doctor.”
Seek Medical Attention:
Know Your Medical History:
“In most cases, the physician will try to treat the injury non-surgically by reinforcing RICE; prescribing medications; physical therapy or advanced treatments — with the goal of gradually returning you to your normal activities,” Dr. Swartzon says.
Stay safe and injury-free – good luck with your resolutions! Let us know how you’re doing.