19:36 PM

From desk jockey to weekend athlete: preparing for a new sport regimen

Westfair Online discusses how to prepare for a new fitness routine after months of inactivity, and includes guidance from experts Daniel H. Blatz, MD, physiatrist at HSS, and John Giametta, physical therapist with HSS Sports Rehab at Chelsea Piers in Stamford.

According to Dr. Blatz, “If you’ve been relatively inactive for a period of time, and we’ve all been hibernating over the winter, you really want to get out there and run around on the first day.”

He added, “But a lot of times what people do is they overdo it, especially on that first day or week or even month.”

“One of the main things is just trying to slowly ramp up your activity regimen. So, if you were running five miles a day in the fall but stopped in the winter, you wouldn’t want to start running as far right from the get-go,” Dr. Blatz explained.

According to Dr. Blatz, the necessity of warm-ups and cool downs stem from tissues throughout the body taking time to adapt to changing conditions. Tissues such as muscles or the cardiovascular system, which haven’t been used in a while, will take a while to become “perfused” with good blood flow and ready supply of nutrients.

Giametta agreed with the necessity of warming up before exercises as a way to avoid injury and ensure health.

He said, “People always ask me what kind of warm up to do, and what I usually recommend is some sort of dynamic warm-up that kind of simulates what you’re going to do.”

According to Giametta, passive stretching before activities is no longer recommended, and Dr. Blatz explained that an ideal warm-up should be rigorous enough to break a light sweat.

Dr. Blatz underscored, “If you start to modify your gait while running or modify your stroke while swimming because of a pain you should stop.”

“If you start to limp because of discomfort, you should call it quits because that’s going to throw off your entire biomechanics and could cause a separate injury,” he noted.

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