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Safeguard Your Summer: A Guide to Staying Active and Injury-Free

couple runningSummers are perfect for shaking off winter’s sedentary slump and getting active. But jumping straight into high-intensity activities can lead to injuries. Especially if you’ve been inactive throughout the winter, it’s crucial to ease into your summer exercises gradually.

Using golf as an example, instead of diving headfirst into a full game, start by hitting a few buckets of balls. Give your body time to adapt to the full range of motion needed for the sport. According to Dr. Don, this slow build-up over a week or two will allow your body to strengthen and prepare for the activity, reducing the risk of injury.

Always Warm Up

Professional athletes dedicate hours to warming up before they hit the field. They know the importance of preparing their bodies for the stresses of the game. This is a practice we should all adopt, regardless of whether we’re professional athletes or just looking to stay fit.

As we age, our bodies take longer to warm up and recover. So, taking the time to properly warm up before exercising is crucial. It’s also important to remember that we need more recovery time as we get older, making rest days vital for our bodies to heal and regain strength.

Stretching: The Perfect Cool Down

While warming up is essential before any physical activity, stretching plays a key role in your post-exercise routine. Think of your muscles as silly putty–if it’s cold and you try to stretch it, it breaks. But warmed up and pliable, it stretches easily.

After warming up and exercising–essentially causing micro-tears or trauma to your muscles–stretching helps alleviate this trauma and prepares your body for recovery. However, stretching cold muscles may not be as effective and can even potentially cause irritation.

Tailor Your Stretches to Match Your Activity

The effectiveness of your stretching routine also depends on the type of activity you’re engaging in. If you’re going for a walk, focus on stretching your glutes, quads, and hamstrings. If you’re gardening, you might want to bend over and touch your toes.

In other words, your stretches should mimic the movements you’ll be making during your activity. And if you’re at the gym, consider incorporating stretches into your workout routine. This way, you’re alternating between the “trauma” of exercise and the relief of stretching, preparing your body for recovery even before you finish your workout.

By starting slow, warming up, stretching, and tailoring your activities to match your body’s needs, you can make the most of your summer, staying active, healthy, and injury-free.

Schedule an Appointment

Chiropractic care can also help you stay active and pain-free all summer long and throughout the year. Give South Side Chiropractic a call today to schedule an appointment.

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