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Dr. Bulczynski Offers Advice on How to Get Back In Summer Shape Safely

Safe Summer Shape: DISC Sports & Spine Center Issues Recommendations on Avoiding Injuries When Resuming Exercise

With spring well underway, throngs of Americans are expected to start or resume workout routines in the annual pursuit of that elusive summer physique. Their self-imposed countdowns will send many to urgent care centers and emergency rooms, as overuse, lack of preparation and age-related issues create a perfect storm for injuries. Exercise equipment related injuries sent nearly 460,000 Americans to the ER in a single year, according to USA Today, and The U.S. National Library of Medicine reports more than 50 percent of runners will experience injury in a given year. Such injury is even more likely when the person is new or returning to exercise after a period of downtime.

Recognizing this, DISC Sports & Spine Center (DISC) has released a list of recommendations to help prevent workout related injuries. These tips were compiled by orthopedic surgeon Dr. Andrew Bulczynski, who works with and treats pro athletes and weekend warriors alike. An avid alpine skier with six marathons under his belt, Dr. Bulczynski himself is an athlete who is also able to draw from his own training experience.

The most common injuries he sees in those resuming a workout routine after a significant break are tendonitis or bursitis in the shoulder, knee or elbow and joint sprains, but people also suffer dehydration, heat stroke and other ailments. When they begin to workout, their bodies must adjust and adapt to new levels of activity and intensity, which takes time. Injuries occur when people don’t give their bodies the time and opportunity to make those necessary adjustments. The key to prevention, Dr. Bulczynski insists, is easing back into the activity with adequate preparation and even help from a professional, if needed.

“We all remember how strong, fast, good we were the last time we worked out, and when we try to do that same workout after significant time has passed, we set ourselves up for injury,” says Dr. Bulczynski. “If you do plan to base your workout on what you did last, just be cautious of how you do it – try half the speed, half the weight, and don’t go all out, but rather build up gradually with shorter durations, shorter intervals, slower speed.”

Here are Dr. Bulczynski’s five recommendations for a safe return to exercise:

1.    Ease Back Into Action – Don’t overdo it straight out of the gate. Whether you’re the weekend warrior suddenly planning your first marathon or the couch potato motivated to exercise by seasons or special events, those who don’t exercise year round should start slowly. A lot may have changed since that last workout, so try cutting those first return efforts in half and give your body time to respond. Learn to listen to your body. If it’s been quite a while, consider seeing your doctor for a physical first.

2.    Stretch for Success – Our bodies perform much better when ligaments, joints and tendons are warmed up. To give yourself the most efficient workout while minimizing injury, start with a quick one-to-two-minute warm-up (e.g., jumping jacks) and a short pre-stretch. Follow that with your workout activity of choice and finish with a formal stretch, which will be more effective at the end of the workout than at the beginning.

3.    Get Properly Equipped – The cushion in a pair of running shoes will break down and wear out after 300 to 500 miles, so ditch those old shoes, no matter how comfy, and make sure your new ones fit properly. But don’t stop there: all workout equipment (bike, treadmill, weights, etc.) should actually be tuned up, properly fitted and working well before you jump back into a workout regimen.

4.    Fill Your Workout with Hydration – Our bodies lose electrolytes when we push them to perform physically. Dehydration is failure to maintain an electrolyte balance, which can cause everything from mild muscle cramping and headaches to dizziness, seizures and worse. To make sure you stay properly hydrated, drink an adequate amount of fluid several hours before you exercise, keep hydrated as you work out, and plan to consume 24 ounces of water for every pound of body weight lost afterward. For strenuous activity, use a sports drink that contains electrolytes (sodium and potassium).

5.    Mind the Weather – When it’s hot, you’re more likely to become dehydrated or suffer heat exhaustion. Plan your workouts accordingly. During the hottest days, try exercising early mornings or evenings. Use sunscreen and wear protective sunglasses and clothing. For particularly cold weather workouts, be sure to dress in layers, do a proper warm-up and be careful of ice and other obstacles that could trip you up. And regardless of which extreme you face, know when it’s time to say “when.”

The Original Article Can Be Seen Here


About the author

discmdgroup DISC Sports and Spine Center (DISC) is one of America’s foremost providers of minimally invasive spine procedures and advanced arthroscopic techniques. Our individually picked, highly specialized physicians apply both established and innovative solutions to diagnose, treat, and rehabilitate their patients in a one-stop, multi-disciplinary setting. With a wide range of specialists under one roof, the result is an unmatched continuity of care with more efficiency, less stress for the patient, and a zero MRSA infection rate. Read more articles by discmdgroup.

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