If you’ve been active your whole life, perhaps only the past few years have been different. Maybe you’re a new dad or have been a dad for years.? You work hard and want to play hard. You have great intentions, but there never seems to be enough time to take care of yourself the way you want.? You sit at work all week, then on the weekends you have to clean up the yard, carry those huge boxes from IKEA, and maybe once in a while you still get to hit the courts with the boys.
In honor of Men?s Health Week, here is the hard truth from physical therapist and dad Adam Pratomo, and some tidbits on how to minimize the risk of injury as you strive to stay active and as the years go by:
1) When you are 18 you can still play sports for exercise. However, when you hit 38, 48, 58 or older, you need to exercise regularly if you want to keep at your sport long term.? The turning point is different for each of us, but at some point you can no longer just play basketball once a week and expect to keep fit indefinitely and not get hurt.
2) Start small?making several small changes in your day will add up. If you are just embarking on the quest for better health, make the conscious decision to move more during your day. Set a timer if you have to but get up from your desk every hour, even if it is just for 30 seconds while you talk on the phone and stretch. Make it a point to send less email, and get up and talk to the person two cubicles away. It may actually be faster to have a one minute conversation versus sending a bunch of emails back and forth.
3) Join a gym or just do it at home. Aim for regular exercise three times a week, and start with cardio. Keep it simple and try and develop the discipline of doing something at regular times every week.? Make sure you put it down on your calendar so you know it is important.? Once you have the regular cardio in place you can add in a good mix of strengthening and flexibility training.
4) Make your exercises specific to your task but don’t neglect the core. Guys always seem to want bigger biceps and bigger pecs, but often neglect the deeper layers of the abdominals. It’s true?abs aren’t just all about crunches anymore.? Be sure to also try and perform some exercises where your back stays neutral on the floor while you alternately move your legs while keeping your spine stable.? If your game is tennis, be sure to also focus on flexibility of the upper back and shoulders.? If your weekend activity is simply house tasks, be sure to practice lifting, squatting and lunging types of exercises with your back in a straight posture to minimize the risk of injury.
5) Ask for help. Remember to pay special attention to any areas that historically have given you a problem.? When you are going through your program, it is normal to have some pain in the musculature for a day or two after a vigorous workout. However if you have pain that lasts much longer than that, or if you notice something stiff that is interfering with your function, don’t hesitate to contact you physical therapist or physician for advice.
Always consult with your physician before starting an exercise regimen.
Adam Pratomo is a physical therapist with the Rehabilitation Department at Hospital for Special Surgery.