An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure

An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure

March 21, 2024

As spring rolls in, many of us begin to ramp up our fitness routines. The longer days and warmer weather allow for more time outdoors enjoying the sports and activities that we love most. These are the weeks and months we dream about all winter when forced to work out indoors.  To make the most of this time, it is essential to stay injury-free.  With insight from our physical therapy team, this guide seeks to keep you healthy as your outdoor physical activity picks up this spring.

Warm-up and Cool Down

Even though the weather is warming up, it doesn’t mean your muscles and cardiovascular system are ready to go.  Warm up your body for 5-10 minutes before starting your main workout.  This can be anything that gets your body moving to increase body temperature including fast walking, light jogging, pedaling on a bike, or an easy version of the workout you are planning to do. Cooling down for 2-3 minutes after your main workout is also important, as it gives your body time to return to its resting state. This prevents blood pooling and cramping.


After a workout, we all have responsibilities to rush off to but it’s important to take the time to stretch for a few minutes. Stretching for 30-60 seconds per muscle group helps to keep your muscles flexible and healthy.  We need our muscles to maintain their flexibility to retain normal joint range of motion. Other benefits of routine stretching include improved balance as well as reduced joint and muscle pain.

Stay Hydrated

Drinking water and staying hydrated have many benefits including increased regulation of body temperature, lubrication of joints, improved blood circulation, and optimization of exercise performance and recovery.The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends that athletes drink 17-20 ounces of water 2-3 hours before exercise, 7-10 ounces of water every 10-20 minutes during exercise, and 16-24 ounces of water for every pound lost after exercise.

Strength Training

Strong muscles support our bones and joints.  As we increase our fitness activities, our body needs increased muscle strength to prevent injuries.  Our cardiovascular system (heart and lungs) is able to handle an increased workload more rapidly than our musculoskeletal system.  This enables our bodies to have the endurance to run or cycle that extra mile, despite muscle weakness, but this imbalance can lead to injury.  To prevent this, sport specific strengthening should be incorporated into weekly workout routines. The American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM) recommends strength training 2-3 times per week for the upper body and lower body, focusing on exercises that target the core, legs, and arms.

Take Care of Your Body

Being mindful of how your body feels is key to injury prevention.  Over training occurs when the body is pushed too hard, too rapidly and can cause overuse injuries such as tendonitis, stress fractures, shin splints and plantar fasciitis. To prevent these common conditions, gradually ramp up the intensity and duration of workouts. If starting a new workout routine, begin with 20-30 minutes of light to moderate activity 3-5 times per week. Make sure to use proper form and wear supportive footwear. Make sure to include rest days in your routine.  These days allow your muscles to recover from the stress of exercise.

Seek Help

Seeing a physical therapist can help decrease injuries by catching any issues early on and helping you establish good movement patterns.  If you have pain or discomfort that isn’t improving with a few days of rest – or returns with return to activities – your body is asking for help – reach out to an experienced physical therapist to help keep you progressing, pain free, and healthy.

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