-- Robert Preidt
SATURDAY, Feb. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Winter couch potatoes who
decide to get active in the spring may be at risk for injury if
they don't take the proper steps to safely get into shape, an
Before you begin an exercise program or new sport, you need to
get an assessment of your physical condition, including weight and
cardiovascular fitness, advised Dr. Anders Cohen, chief of
neurosurgery and spine surgery at The Brooklyn Hospital Center. He
suggested that this may be a good time to get your annual
Cohen also recommends people spend three weeks working on areas
such as strength and flexibility to prepare for taking part in new
sports or activities. This preparation may include things such as
working out at the gym, following along with an exercise video,
climbing stairs or doing Pilates exercises.
Another important thing to remember is to take steps to prevent
chronic injuries or re-injuries.
"These are the injuries that make people give up a sport. If, for example, you always sprain your ankle, pay attention to strengthening that area," Cohen said in a hospital news release.
He compared chronic injuries to a tire with a slow leak.
"Once you have an injury, that part of your body is always more susceptible. Pay attention to preexisting conditions and work on strengthening those areas," he suggested.
It also helps to be sports-specific in your physical
preparations, Cohen noted.
"For example, if you're a baseball player, you want to start playing catch, alternating distances and angles to increase flexibility, reflexes and loosen your arm. That's also a good idea for tennis players since catching a ball and volleying with a tennis racket require the same motion. Basketball players will want to increase cardio endurance by running up stairs," Cohen said.
Additional tips offered by the doctor include: taking 10 minutes
to warm up (stretching and loosening up) before any physical
activity and 10 minutes cooling down afterwards; and monitor your
progress and physical condition in order to improve your
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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