It’s finally happening! You can see green shoots starting to peak their way through the brown ground cover, trees are budding, the days are longer and the birds are singing the soundtrack of nature’s Sirens. It’s time to get back outside and say ‘Welcome Spring!’ After a winter’s hibernation, you can get out and finally relieve that ‘itch’. Whatever your activity is, whether it be gardening, golfing, biking, running, or even bocce ball, it’s time to brush those cobwebs off.
For many individuals, winter physical activity consists of couch surfing for TV programming, or binge watching Netflix. As relaxing as this down time can be, it may be detrimental to the body, especially when we are ready to increase our activity level. This is especially true if you have previous injury history, such as low back pain with golfing or knee pain with running. When we are inactive, especially with times of prolonged sitting, our tissue begins to tighten up and areas that were strong get weak. There is much truth in the ‘use it or lose it’ principle. When our body begins to lose the strength and flexibility that we previously had, it places us at a higher risk for injury, especially in areas of previous problems. Some key areas of strength loss are often in our hip and gluteal region. Strengthening exercises such as the following will help restore strength and function, as this region of the body provides large stability for many activities:
Stretching other areas of the body such as the following will also help reduce imbalances that occur after long periods of sitting:
This is very useful to reduce strain on your shoulders, neck and low back. Although one can look for and read tips online (such as this blog!) for general information to help them, visiting with a physical or occupational therapist to provide exercises specifically tailored to your body type and needs is the most beneficial. Even though our recreational activity should ultimately help us stay active and healthy, it is important to be fit to participate rather than participate to be fit! So get out there and connect with nature and your physical self, enjoy your re-release, because you finally made it through another winter!