Dr. Anthony Beutler Associate Director of Sports Medicine at Intermountain Healthcare visits ABC4 to discuss staying safe and injury-free this fall amid COVID.
Fall is right around the corner which means we’ll still have plenty of sunshine for outdoor activities. However, with COVID-19 still in the community precautions need to be taken, even when you are in the outdoors.
For those who have been quarantining in their homes, not being active this summer, there are some extra precautions to take to stay safe and avoid injuries.
First and foremost, people are urged to still wear a mask if they can’t socially distance from other people. Those on a trail or in a popular outdoor area should still have a mask on-hand for when they can’t keep more than six feet away. It is safe for most people to wear a mask during physical activity.
Ease into Activities
One of the biggest mistakes which often leads to injuries is going too hard too fast, said Anthony Beutler, MD, associate director of sports medicine at Intermountain Healthcare.
“Considering many people have not had the same fitness levels through the COVID-19 crisis means those getting ready for fall may not be in as good of shape as they think,” he noted.
Dr. Beutler urges people to gradually increase their strenuous activity. Those getting ready for winter sports should start doing their workouts now to strengthen the muscles in their legs and back which face the most strain.
Importance of Stretching
Another important step is to stretch before and after major physical activity but also being sure you’re doing it correctly, said Dr. Beutler.
- Dynamic stretching includes swinging legs back and forth, doing a range of motion such as swinging your arms in circles. These stretches should be brief, not too intense, and done before physical activity.
- Static stretching includes stretches for 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 should be a continued focus for your stretching routine.
Even with the best preparation and stretching routine people can still experience injuries from their activities or be dealing with previous ailments. Dr. Beutler notes that’s when it’s important to have a plan for how to get back to full strength.
Let yourself heal from past injuries, Dr. Beutler recommends.
“Not letting an injury properly heal after a strain can lead to reinjuring. Even though it might feel better, A rolled ankle can often be less stable,” he added.
He also recommends that you think about switching up your activity. For example, if you have sore knees a pool, bicycle, or walking workout, will let you stay active without the impact on your knees.
“The key to helping soreness or joint pain is to keep moving. Completely stopping physical activity can compound the problem and make it worse. For example, not walking because of inflammation can create more inflammation.” Dr. Beutler noted.
Muscle pulls or sprains do require rest as part of the recovery process to heal correctly but should still have light physical activity that doesn’t cause pain.
Icing score muscles and resting is a great way to treat most types of injuries.
Also, make sure other muscles stay strong to help take the load off an injured part of the body. For example, core, hip, and back muscles can have an influence on knees and shoulders.
Dr. Beutler reminds everyone if you have a serious injury or something which requires medical attention don’t hesitate to be seen at one of our facilities. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Intermountain hospitals and clinics are taking extra precautions to keep people safe.
Delaying treatment can lead to prolonged recovery and possibly other more serious health issues.
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