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Preventing injuries: swinging into spring activities injury free

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Every year caregivers at Intermountain Healthcare see an uptick in the number of strains and injuries as more people get outside for the nicer weather. Beth Gilmore, Physical Therapist at Intermountain TOSH, said there are several things people can do to prevent those injuries. 
Stretching is an important part of injury prevention but there are several misconceptions about what to do and when. Dynamic stretching includes swinging legs back and forth, doing range of motion such as swinging your arms in circles. These stretches should be brief, not too intense, and done before physical activity, according to Beth Gilmore, a physical therapist at Intermountain’s TOSH. 
Static stretching includes stretches such as hamstrings, arms, and quads, and should be done for 20-30 seconds. These stretches should be done after workouts when people are already warm. Identify problem areas and where you may not be as flexible and work on that when stretching. 
Know your fitness level and ease into physical activities. Experts say one of the biggest mistakes people make is going too hard too fast after a winter of reduced activity level. Lift with your legs not your back. We hear this all the time, but during basic activities such as yard work or cleaning not bending your knees can lead to serious back pain and other injuries, Glmore said.
Other advice

  • Let yourself heal from past injuries. Not letting an injury properly heal after a strain can lead to a reinjuring. A rolled ankle can often be less stable even though it might feel better. 
  •  If working out is a part of your plan for spring, then be sure to speak with a professional trainer or physical therapist if you haven’t done serious workouts in some time. A trainer can help determine your fitness level and areas that need work or more flexibility. Doing the workouts people were taught in the past may not be the best for what your body type or fitness level is now.
  • Wear protective equipment. When doing sports and other activities wear a helmet when necessary, use a mouth guard, and a brace if directed by your doctor. 

You can reach the TOSH Physical Therapy Program at 801-314-4040. 
For more information visit here online: Intermountain Healthcare’s Physical Therapy Programs

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