Injury Prevention

     It is only the middle of February but it feels like spring in Ames Iowa! Not often do we have such beautiful weather this early. Obviously we are not out of the woods yet as there is a lot of winter yet to come and it is after all Iowa. Yet that won't stop our family from getting outside and enjoying the warmth while we can.

     When the weather starts we warm up we also starts seeing more injuries in the office. This is often due to everyone craving to get outside and start having fun again or needing to get some projects done that didn't get done last year. The problem lies in that our bodies are often not ready for the change of pace. For many they have been couped up inside for months and not using the muscle or body in general in a way that prepares them for jumping back into warm weather activities. If you haven't been on a run since the last nice day of fall and now expect to go out and start running for an hour or more your body is likely going to not respond the way you want. Likewise if you haven't been in the garden for months and now go out and spend an hour bend over your flower beds your body will be feeling the results for days.

     So how do we prevent this from happening? Certainly we want you to be able to get outside and enjoy your life! So here are some tips:

1. Start slow. Allow the body time to adapt to the new activity. The body is an amazing machine that adapts or all kinds of stresses but the changes often require some time. Start by walking then gradually bump up to a run/walk combo where you walk for 10 minutes and then run for 5. Gradually increasing the stress on the body allows the muscles, ligaments, and joints time to heal and adapt to the new stress.

2. Warm up. Before jumping straight into an activity that you have done in months do some motions that mimic the activity. For example before starting to clean out the flower beds start but doing some squats and leg lifts. Get some blood flowing and get the muscles and joints ready for some increased stress.

3. Take breaks. This ties in closes with starting slow. So again don't think you can go from sitting on the couch all winter to running a 5k with without the body rebelling. Taking breaks every 15-20 minutes allows the body and chance to heal and recover before undergoing stress again.

4. Fuel the body. Make sure you are getting what your body needs to prevent or help repair any damage that might be done. This includes making sure you are drinking enough water(1 once for every pound for half your body weight) and eating fresh vegetables, fruits, lean meats, and healthy fats. For many eating better has been a goal since the new year. For other we are still in the routine of holiday eating habits that are far from healthy.

     Following these easy tips will hopefully ensure you are able to enjoy the warm weather with as few aches and pains as possible. As always we are here for you 100% so if there is anything you need or have any questions please don't hesitate to reach out to us. We can be reached through the website or call 515-232-9075.

In health,

-Dr. Ben