Stay injury free during warmer seasons

Published 6:52am Sunday, April 21, 2013

Special to The Post-Searchlight
It’s not just the temperature that’s picking up. With the onset of spring, many Georgians could be continuing — or making new — commitments to warm-up, work out and stay physically fit. And whether young, old or somewhere in between, many people will head outdoors to enjoy the warm spring weather — and to make strides in their health.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends adults participate in 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity physical activity or 75 minutes a week of intense activity, according to a press release from the Physical Therapy Association of Georgia. The recommendation is even higher for children: 60 minutes or more of physical activity every day. With increased physical activity, though, comes some level of risk.
“Regular exercise can help improve motion,” said Dr. Barney Poole, personal trainer and president of the Physical Therapy Association of Georgia. “With the weather warming up, Georgians will flock outside — to work in their yards, explore a park, go swimming or just good, old-fashioned play — and it’s even better when those activities are done safely and in a manner that prevents injury while improving physical performance.”
The following tips can help decrease your chances of injury as the spring and summer activities kick in:
Fishing
• Stretch, stretch and stretch. By stretching your forearm muscles and tendons beforehand, you can prevent tears that cause pain.
• Core body strengthening can help manage long-term back pain that comes from extended periods of sitting or standing.
• Take breaks — give your body a rest by taking a short walk in between long fishing sessions.
• Try using multiple casting styles. Overhead casting is associated with less wrist and elbow pain and — if possible — avoid frequent sidearm or elliptical casting.
Gardening
• Warm-up before you begin — Even do a few stretches to loosen up.
• Don’t overdo it. Be mindful of your body — if you feel any aches and pains, slow down and switch to a different task.
• Use a garden cart or wheelbarrow to move tools and heavy planting materials.
• Change positions frequently to avoid stiffness or cramping.
• End your gardening session with a short walk or some light stretching. A warm bath helps prevent soreness.
Backpacking
• Pay attention to the way the backpack is positioned. It should rest evenly in the middle of the back.
• Straps should not be too loose, and the backpack should not extend below the lower back.
• Keep the load at 10 percent to 15 percent or less of your body weight. Try carrying only items that are needed for the day.
• Organize the contents of the backpack by placing the heaviest items closest to the back.
For injury prevention tips, sample exercises and additional resources from American Physical Therapy Association and the Physical Therapy Association of Georgia visit www.moveforwardpt.com or www.ptagonline.org.

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