by Allison Garmager, PT, DPT
When the weather starts to warm up, we often begin to engage in more outdoor activities. What are some of your favorite spring or summer activities? Spending more time exercising and being active is great for our physical and mental health. For individuals 65 and older, the CDC recommends doing 150 minutes per week of activity that is moderate in intensity. It may seem more manageable to spread this activity throughout the week. You could do physical activity 30 minutes 3 days per week and 15 minutes on the other 4 days of the week. Breaking activity up in this manner often makes it more manageable to attain. Examples of moderate intensity activity could include walking at a quick pace, biking, and gardening. I will outline some tips below that will help you to be safe and prevent injury as you increase outdoor activity:
Take breaks to allow your body to rest
There are often activities, such as gardening or mowing the lawn, which we only perform during certain months of the year. Whenever we initiate these activities again, it is normal to experience muscle soreness because our muscles haven’t performed that activity for some time. To prevent injuries or increased soreness, it is beneficial to take breaks during these activities. For example, if you have a full garden to plant, break that task up into 3 days rather than trying to complete it all within 1 day. This will help your body to acclimate to the tasks of the activity again. These breaks will also help with energy conservation, allowing us to continue our normal daily routines even with performing an increased amount of physical activity.
Do some warm-up exercise before engaging in the activity
It is important to warm your muscles up prior to doing an activity. You can warm-up in a variety of ways. Walking around the block would be a great idea. You can also warm-up by doing a few dynamic exercises. For example, you can do some standing marching, side-stepping, and hamstring curls. You can do these at a slower or quicker pace, depending on your activity level. You can also do some sit-to-stands from a chair or air squats. Getting your body ready to move will help to prevent injury.
It is important to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water to ensure safety while you are outside. Staying hydrated will also help your increase your energy level to complete the activities you want, even on the hot and humid days.
Seek physical therapy treatment
Have you had an experience with physical therapy treatment before? If you are having discomfort from physical activity that isn’t improving, physical therapy can help get you back on the right track. We can work on decreasing muscle tension and improving both mobility and strength to decrease your pain and to help you return to your favorite outdoor activities. Physical therapy treatment can also help prevent these injuries from happening again in the future.
At Kinetic Edge Physical Therapy, we are here to help you as you transition back into an active summer. We want you to enjoy your time outdoors so if you’re experiencing any discomfort in your summer activities please reach out to set up an appointment!