Avera Medical Minute: Springing into action

Published: Mar. 17, 2022 at 1:54 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Spring appears to be moving into place and Punxsutawney Phil cannot say too much about that. That is good enough for people to consider getting back outside and into shape. Doing too much too soon can do more harm than good though according to Avera Sports Medicine Physician Dr. Jon Buchanan. If you were relatively stagnant during winter, your muscles will be a little tighter and will take time to loosen up.

“Instead of jumping into that running program, start walking, going into a little bit of a stretching program, [or] core strengthening program before you get back to that level,” Dr. Buchanan said.

Perhaps you have been diligently running on a treadmill or stationary bike and you are simply ready to do the same thing outside. The new concern that Dr. Buchanan said to be wary of is the changing environment. You will have to watch out for more people on the trails, animals, and terrain that could change from day to day. Clothing is another item to give some thought to.

“You don’t want to overheat, [but] you also don’t want to get too cold,” Dr. Buchanan added. “You want to wear something more breathable, so a light type of fabric will absorb and wick off the moisture so you don’t overheat. If you get too wet or overheated and a cold wind blows, it might chill you too much.”

Once you can return to an active regime, the health benefits are endless. Just a short walk will release endorphins from the brain and provide natural pain relief. It provides a boost to mood, decreases blood pressure, and regulates blood sugar. Excluding the possibility of injury, Dr. Buchanan says there is no downside to getting out and exercising.

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