Most individuals are more inactive during the cold winter months, but before we know it, spring will be right around the corner. When warmer weather is upon us, we will have more options to get outside and get moving. Until that time, in order to maintain overall health and wellness, and avoid the risk of injury when the weather does improve, it is important to participate in an exercise program. Only exercise to your level of health and make sure you are cleared for physical activity by your physician prior to starting any new exercise regimen.
Begin by exercising three times a week for 30 minutes of moderate cardiovascular and light strength training. Allow time for both warm-up and cool-down with exercise, approximately 5-10 minutes. Light impact activities (i.e. walking, biking) are a good way to exercise without placing additional stress on your joints. Strengthening of your legs is also important for function and protection from injury. By increasing muscle strength, you can give support to the joints and allow energy conservation with daily activity. Winter is often a time when muscle tightness increases due to decreased activity. Make sure that you are taking time to stretch your muscles to maintain flexibility. Stretches can be done daily and should be held for 15-20seconds and repeated 2-3x for each muscle group.
It is not uncommon to have muscle soreness after starting an exercise program. A day of rest between exercising will help to decrease the onset of muscle soreness. If soreness does occur, ice can be used for 10-15 minutes. If you suffer a minor injury to a muscle or joint, make sure to rest. To avoid further injury or inflammation, you should elevate and ice the area 10-15 minutes, several times per day.
-The Center for Joint Surgery Physical Therapy Team.
If you have further questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us at the Center for Joint Surgery and Sports Medicine (240-452-3205).