For many of us, the switch to Daylight Saving Time means play time! Out come last season’s running shoes, softball gloves, and soccer cleats. Springtime is also the time when many of us realize we’re out of shape and need to hit the gym and the trails to improve our fitness.

Whether you’re in great condition or grappling with the reality that you indulged a little too much in comfort food last winter, you’ll want to avoid getting injured while playing sports or working out. Here are a few tips to help you keep bumps and jostles from becoming strains and sprains:

  • Warm up and cool down. Take time to ease yourself into an activity. Start at a slower pace or smaller range of motion to allow your muscles to warm up. When you’re finished, slow down again to give muscles a chance to cool down.
  • Stretch. Following your warm-up and cool-down routines with a series of stretches also helps reduce injuries. Remember to stretch properly so that you don’t get hurt doing something that’s supposed to help keep you from getting hurt! (FastFact: Stretching is important for all ages.)
  • Wear your gear. Check protective equipment (e.g., helmets, knee and elbow pads, chest protectors, etc.) to make sure everything fits properly and isn’t damaged. Important reminder: If your head gear is cracked or worn, don’t try to get another season’s wear out of it; replace it immediately.
  • Know when to hold ‘em. Pushing yourself while you’re ill or injured can worsen an injury or delay recovery. Sitting out one or two games or 5Ks can help you get better faster.
  • Love your water bottle. Drink plenty of fluids. Water is sufficient for most short-term activities (less than two hours), depending on the intensity of your effort. If an activity causes you to sweat, you may want to switch to a sports-type drink that helps replace your body’s electrolytes.
  • Maintain a first aid kit. You’ll want to keep a first aid kit in your car as well as at home. Stock it with these essential items: antiseptic, a variety of bandages, antibiotic ointment, a pair of safety scissors, and sterile gloves. All of these products are available in your local drug store.

Final note: Please talk with your primary care physician before starting any exercise or sports activity. And remember that no matter where you are or what you’re doing, Teladoc is here to help diagnose and treat minor, non-emergency injuries such as swelling, backache, sprains, and strains. When you download the Teladoc app, our board-certified physicians will be at your fingertips 24/7 anywhere in the U.S. Now, as they say in the major leagues, “Play ball!”

 

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