This past spring, rain and unusually cool temperatures made it hard for many of us to stay fit. Summer provides a clean slate to finally get outside and get moving. But if regular exercise wasn't part of your winter and spring routine, it's important to ease into an active lifestyle.
"With any new exercise plan, it's important to start slowly, with a few minutes of stretching," says Dr. Michael Callan, an orthopaedic specialist with Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital. "You are more prone to injury when you push yourself at 100 miles per hour all at once."
Exercise helps arthritis patients
The most common summer injuries for adults are muscle strains and sprains. Children are more likely to suffer broken bones. Despite these risks, almost everyone can benefit from regular exercise - even people with arthritis.
"We often recommend initial physician therapy, in addition to anti-inflammatory medication, for people with arthritis to improve their range of motion," Dr. Callan says. "Many times by keeping the joints active we can put off surgery, sometimes for years. And if therapy and exercise cause more pain, then we know that it may be time for surgical intervention."
Dr. Callan recommends low-impact exercise, especially for those just starting an exercise program. This includes brisk walking or swimming. Cycling also can provide good cardiovascular benefits without adversely affecting the joints.