5 Ways to Get Ready Now for your Spring Sport

Spring in Boston has officially arrived… even if it doesn’t feel like it yet.  As the snow begins to melt, pale Bostonians start to venture outside for the first time in months to exercise.  We start getting back to long runs along the Esplanade, evening softball leagues and weekends spent on the golf course.

All winter long we have been tied to our treadmills, elliptical machines and stationary bikes.  But by mid-April, many of us have moved on to much more dynamic activities and sports outdoors.  This quick change over in activity can leave us susceptible to injury secondary to training errors.  As an orthopedic physical therapist, I see a substantial increase of overuse injuries at this time of year (such as Achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, IT band and patellafemoral syndromes).

Here are a few tips that will get you ready to train outside again and to avoid unnecessary injuries:

1) Take a good look at your sneakers – This is a great time to make sure that you have a fresh pair.  Most sneakers should be replaced every 9-12 months.  The foam in the sole reacts with oxygen and begins to break down.  Before you hit the pavement, make sure that your kicks are in good shape.

2) Cross train – Everything in moderation.  When the weather starts getting warmer, don’t start to just jog exclusively and not look back. Take the time to fit in a little work on the elliptical machine, stationary bike, rowing machine or pool.  Your body will thank you.

3) Build power and speed – If you are going back to a sport like baseball, tennis or soccer start working on your speed now.  Build short sprints into your running workouts on the treadmill.  Put in some quick lateral movements and cuts.  This will build your endurance, but it will also train your muscles for power. Also start adding some plyometric exercises if you aren’t already doing them.

4) Don’t forget about strength – As the weather gets nicer, many people decrease their visits to the gym and decrease their strength workouts.  Remember that fitness is not just cardiovascular. Make sure to get to the gym at least 2-3 times a week to work on strength training to meet your specific goals.

5) Pace yourself – Many people can get over enthusiastic this time of the year and end up with injuries from training errors.  Stay within your means.  If you are jogging 3 miles daily on the treadmill, don’t start jogging 4 miles daily outside just because it is nice out.  Work up your mileage slowly within your limits.

These are just a few tips in order to ensure that you have a fun and active Spring.  Check back in a few weeks when I will give more Spring “sport-specific” training tips.

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Diana grew up in a small suburb north of Boston. She received her clinical doctorate degree in Physical Therapy at Boston University in 2006. Diana started practicing as a physical therapist at Massachusetts General Hospital. While at MGH, she developed a specialty in the evaluation and treatment of complex lumbopelvic dysfunction. Diana is currently practicing at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston where she is the Orthopedic Clinical Supervisor of the Spine program. She is presently a Boston resident and her interests outside physical therapy include cooking, walking on the Esplanade, and international travel.

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