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Like many people you may find youself more active in the Spring and Summer. Regular exercise is highly recommended for enhancing or maintaining proper health and with Spring quickly approaching, many individuals are preparing to return to outdoor activities such as basketball, tennis, soccer, football, softball, cycling, etc. However, it is important to properly stretch the muscles before engaging in these types of recreational activities and this is especially vital for people who are unfamiliar with the sport. Failing to properly warm-up and stretch before participating in a sporting event may lead to painful and unnecessary injuries.
Reports indicate that stretching before physical activity or engaging in strength training has the potential to reduce the risk of soreness as well as the risk of injuries to muscles, tendons, and ligaments. In addition, joints that have previously been injured can be protected from further injury by wearing supportive gear such as bands or flexible braces, or by enrolling in specific training programs prior to participating in a sport. There are also numerous benefits that are associated with continuing to be physically active after an injury, especially as we get older.
For instance, regular exercise reduces the occurrence of chronic conditions that generally develop with age such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, and osteoporosis. Studies have shown that exercise can improve longevity as active individuals generally have lower rates of chronic conditions than those who are mostly sedentary. Persistent physical activity is also associated with increased muscle and bone strength, and although certain sports are more enjoyable during warmer seasons, remaining physically active throughout the year is essential for optimal health. In addition to improving physical health, playing sports can boost social skills due to heightened interactions with other individuals, while having to learn and memorize sport-specific techniques and vocabulary can enhance cognition and memory.
Additional benefits of regular physical activity include:
- Enhanced lung function
- Increased energy and endurance
- Mood enhancement
- Lowered cholesterol
- A reduction in sleep disturbances
- The reduction of depression and anxiety symptoms
- A reduced risk of falling and enhanced cognitive function in the elderly
- Weight loss and weight control once a desired weight has been achieved
- A reduced occurrence of strokes and certain cancers (e.g. colon, breast cancer)
In order to stay motivated to remain physically active throughout the year consider participating in different types of sports when the seasons change, while focusing on the advantages of regular exercise. Performing a variety of exercises also helps strengthen muscles and bones in different parts of the body.
If you are concerned about a previous injury or how to avoid injuries, our Physical Therapists would be happy to assess your current physical state and create a program tailored specifically to your needs and goals. Call Ascend Physical Therapy & Wellness to make an appointment or to ask any questions you may have.
Have a healthy, active Summer!