While the warmer temperatures are tempting many to get moving outdoors, springing back into shape after months of hibernation can often lead to injuries. NY1's Health reporter Kafi Drexel filed the following report.
Dr. Anders Cohen, a spinal surgeon from Brooklyn Hospital Center, says spring is the rebirth of many things, including his patients' injuries.
"The urge is to say, 'Oh it's warm out, let's just pick up the ball and let's go pick it up where we were last Labor Day, last fall.' But unfortunately, the dormancy and the weight gain and other aspects are things that you have to address," says Cohen. To avoid injury, Cohen says people need to assess their physical condition before hopping back into activity.
"Take this point in time and have that baseline as to where you are now, and have a real measuring stick as to where you're going to be a month from now, six weeks from now, to when we're going to jump back into competitive action," says Cohen.
The doctor says it takes about three weeks for exercisers to get back into the swing of things.
"That timeframe seems to be something that's generally accepted in all walks of life. Not just sports habits, but life habits," says Cohen. "If you really stick to a diet or a work program or behavior programs at work or home, that if you get on board and do three weeks straight, the odds are that you can hold that habit and progress from there. A major way to prep for more exercise is to strengthen the abdominal muscles to prevent back injury. For that, Cohen is a big fan of Pilates and other abs-centered exercises.
"The analogy I like to use is when you're young, especially for the males, the six-pack is the attraction aspect. But what they don't realize is that they're helping to prevent injury and perform sports better, because they are supporting their lower back muscles, the same way quads and hamstrings support a knee," says Cohen.
When in doubt, stretch, stretch, stretch. For most of his patients, Cohen suggests taken 10 minutes each for warming up and cooling down. That way, one is more likely to spring back into action, rather than spring straight onto the injured list.