Spring is now in motion and as the temperatures start to rise, we all want to start moving a little more. We tend to want to dive into spring cleaning, take up running or biking, head to the golf range to drive balls and start throwing to get our arms ready for ball season.
This invigorating time also coincides with an increase of visitors to the clinic. Typically, this is when I start seeing more people who show up with predictable problems:
- Our patients with lower back issues are usually those who had an ambitious session of cleaning out the garage or basement or shed
- Those with knee problems typically jumped back into running to quickly
- People with lower back, wrist or elbow pain are often the golfers who couldn’t wait to get swinging
- Sufferers of shoulder pain typically have been throwing too hard, too fast and too soon and show up with rotator cuff irritations
Unless you’ve been very active all winter, start all your spring activity slowly and deliberately over several days. Let the body adapt to the increase in movement and work. Your muscles and joints will not cooperate if you jump in cold turkey at high intensity and for long periods. Your joints will get stiffer and so will your muscle—the perfect recipe for an injury.
Follow our tips to avoid hurting your body:
For spring cleaning
Start with light objects earlier in the day to warm up. Let your body get used to walking, squatting repetitively and lifting. Your muscles and joints will loosen up and will be able to take on bigger tasks and loads as the day progresses—without the risk of overuse or sudden injury.
When the weather warms up, the pavement dries out and the birds start singing, it’s as if you’ve been given a natural invitation to start running. But if you start too quickly and go too far, you will set yourself up for shin splints, knee pain, calf and achilles tendonitis. The best way to avoid these injuries is to alternate between walking and running, and to keep your distance low for the first few weeks. Walking 2 minutes and running 30 seconds is a very good way to getting accustomed to your “new” running legs. Over the following three weeks, you can increase the running time and decrease the walking time. Looking for a good running program? We like this one, from The Running Clinic.
When you start riding your bike in the spring—whether it’s a road, mountain or upright bike— the first kilometres will result in a sore buttock, and generalized soreness to your neck, shoulders and back. At the beginning of your season, avoid hills, get used to a regular cadence, and only ramp up the distance travelled once your body is well adjusted. If you’re new to cycling, you’ll find a good primer for beginners here.
When springtime arrives, there’s a strong pull to get to the golf course to swing some clubs. Having good game when it comes to golf means consistency: same velocity, same angles, same technique, same arc of swing. But this consistency can lead to overuse injuries. So before you jump onto the course, make sure your lower extremities are flexible or else your low back spine will take the torque and stress at the end of your swing. Also, for the first few weeks of play, avoid your full swing. You need to make sure you build up your functional range before pushing the depth of your swing. Check out this slideshow of some of the best exercises that can help improve your game.
Seasonal athletes like baseball or football players are definitely at risk for injuries when it’s time to ball-up! If you’re tempted to try a deep throw right off the bat, know that you’re guaranteeing yourself a trip to the physiotherapy clinic. Most throwing injuries are rotator cuff related. The solution is simple: make sure you return to throwing gradually over several weeks. Engage in a resisted shoulder workout program. Rest properly between throwing sessions. And finally, adjust the intensity of the game to YOUR capacity. (Remember, you’re not playing in the World Series!) If you’re looking to get ready balling, check out this off-season program that will help
We leave you with these words of wisdom (and common sense): An ounce of prevention goes a long way to ensure a long and enjoyable lifestyle for the whole summer season. Enjoy!
Don’t forget that we offer biomechanical analysis services at our clinic. If you’d like us to assess your golfing, running or swimming technique with our mobile lab, let us know. We can help you perfect your form and avoid injuries! Get in touch to find out more!