As we dust off our running shoes and tennis rackets, we are often eager to pick up where we left off prior to those cold winter months. However, these renewed good intentions of fitness can lead to unexpected injuries. Here are 10 tips to help you avoid unexpected injuries and stay healthy:
- Respect your feet—Until you have a problem, you probably take your feet for granted. Wearing properly fitted footwear throughout the day is essential for preventing a debilitating foot injury. Reconsider your choice in shoes at the first signs of callous formation or discomfort. Seek medical advice even for mild foot pain.
- Watch your back—We often want to hit that new personal record. However, we should never sacrifice form. One less rep may be what it takes for your back to live to fight another day.
- Keep it moving—You may be surprised that sitting for more than eight hours per day carries a similar risk to smoking. Protect your heart by taking frequent breaks from your desk. Consider standing while working on the computer or talking on the phone.
- Learn the value of walking—Walking is one of the most underrated forms of exercise. It can safely be performed daily and for a prolonged duration. Even seasoned athletes can benefit from incorporating walking into their routine. Walking also produces a heart rate well suited for burning fat.
- Make sleep a priority —Lack of sleep will make you more injury-prone throughout the day, particularly during physical exertion. When you do miss a few winks, adjust your exercise routine accordingly.
- Listen to your body—Sometimes we push ourselves too hard. An easy workout is better than no exercise at all.
- Choose the right time of day—Some people are early risers when it comes to exercise, while others consider an evening workout to be a great stress reliever at the end of a long workday. In any case, carve out times when you are alert and rested enough to avoid injuries (or an oncoming car).
- Wear protective clothing—We all yearn for those T-shirt and shorts days during the summer. Resist the temptation and wear the gear intended for your chosen activity, whether it be long pants to protect you from scrapes or a helmet to avoid the worst of all injuries.
- Apply sunscreen regularly—Even on overcast days, sun exposure dramatically increases the risk of skin cancer and early aging of the skin.
- Use eye protection—It only takes one unlucky moment to damage an eye, sometimes to the point of blindness. Regular eyeglasses or sunglasses do not provide protection from contact and ball sports.
In your quest to lose a little weight for the summer, just remember that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Look for my article on “The Impact of Positive Thinking on Better Men’s Health” in the next issue.
Scott D. Miller, MD, MBA, is Wellstar’s Medical Director of Urology and of Robotic Surgery. He has practiced in Atlanta for over 20 years and sees patients at Wellstar Urology in Roswell, Wellstar North Fulton Hospital and Wellstar Avalon Health Park. Wellstar North Fulton Hospital offers the Know Your Heart Screening that can determine your risk of heart disease, stroke and other serious conditions. Call 770-956-STAR (7827) to learn more or schedule an appointment.
Scott D. Miller, MD, MBA • Wellstar North Fulton Hospital • 470.956.4230 • www.ScottDMillerMD.com