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Tips for Wearing a Face Mask During Exercise

Photo Credit: newschant dot com

Are you worried about wearing a face mask while exercising? You are not alone. While we have had to accept the reality of wearing face masks during our daily lives, the concept of wearing a mask while exercising or playing sports is another thing altogether. Figuring out how to exercise, sweat, and breath hard while sucking air through fabric or filters can be daunting. Regardless, we will have to accept this reality if we want to exercise indoors or in more crowded outdoor spaces. The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) currently requires face masks both indoors and outside, if social distancing cannot be maintained. This requirement includes gyms, crowded parks, trails, and basketball courts. However, there are a few things you can do to make wearing a face mask during exercise a little easier.

Types of Face Masks

Picking out the most appropriate face mask for your activity can be a challenge. Because there are so many different types of masks to choose from, it is important to understand the options. Medical grade face masks, such as N95 respirators and surgical masks, are not ideal for exercise. While N95 masks are great at protecting you and those around you, they are in short supply and should be reserved for healthcare professionals working with COVID-19 patients.

Likewise, surgical masks and other paper disposable masks are not great for exercising. Because paper masks lose their effectiveness as soon as they get wet (think sweating!), wear them once, and throw them away. Although face shields are becoming common, it is important to understand that they are primarily for eye protection. In fact, the CDC does not currently recommend the use of face shields as a replacement for face masks. Rather, they recommend face shields and masks be worn together as an additional level of protection. Cloth masks are the best choice for exercise because they are washable, reusable, and tend to be the most comfortable.

Selecting the Right Face Mask

Selecting the right cloth mask means finding one that is both comfortable and effective. The best masks have multiple fabric layers for increased protection. In addition, they need to be breathable so you get enough oxygen for exercise. Companies, like Under Armor, Columbia, and Adidas, have created sports oriented face masks designed specifically to wear while competing. Another popular option is the neck buff. A neck buff is a tube of fabric worn around the neck. Many people use them as face masks by pulling them up over the mouth and nose. Even though neck buffs are popular, a recent study indicated that they might actually be worse than not wearing a face mask at all. There is some evidence that the fabric of a neck buff may spread particles out in a larger pattern than normal, and they do nothing to restrict or block the spread. While convenient and comfortable, neck buffs are not likely to protect the user or other people.

How to Wear a Face Mask

Once you have selected your face mask, make sure you get the most out of it by wearing it properly. Here are some tips on how to wear a mask:

  • Make sure that the mask completely covers your mouth and nose.
  • Your mask should fit snugly, yet comfortably to your face.
  • If you have difficulty breathing in your mask before you begin exercising, you may need to select a different mask.
  • Wash your hands before and after putting on or removing your face mask.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth while putting on and removing your mask.
  • Do not touch your mask while you are wearing it.
  • Do you sweat a lot? Carry more than one mask and switch them out as needed.
  • Wash and dry your face mask after each use.
  • Put on and remove your face mask by the ear loops, rather than touching the front of the mask itself.

Exercising with a Face Mask

Exercising while wearing a face mask can be uncomfortable at first, and you may need some time to adjust. Therefore, ease into activity slowly when you are wearing a mask. You can accomplish this by planning shorter, less intense workouts the first few times you wear a mask. Feeling dizzy, lightheaded, having difficulty breathing, or having shortness of breath are all signs that you need to slow down. If that doesn’t help, you may need to stop your activity altogether until the symptoms resolve.

For health conditions that causes difficulty breathing, or if your doctor recommends that you not wear a mask, consider starting a home exercise program. In addition, there are many options for exercising outdoors without a mask rather than in a gym. Remember to always practice social distancing.

Now that you have selected a face mask, and are wearing it properly, get out there and start exercising!

Written by: Stuart Schmidt, MS, ATC, CSCS athletic trainer supervisor for The Center Foundation in Bend, OR. Learn more about Stuart HERE.

 

Meet the Team – Gavin Thiele

Gavin Thiele, MEd, ATCGavin Thiele was born and raised in Fort Wayne, Indiana. After high school, he left his hometown to attend Purdue University. Gavin enjoyed his time at Purdue and the unique opportunities available to him. In fact, one of his favorite experiences was working as the student intern athletic trainer for the Buffalo Bills.

In 2012, Gavin completed his bachelor’s degree and headed west. He accepted the position of Graduate Assistant Athletic Trainer for Arizona State University. While working as a graduate assistant, he studied for his Master’s Degree in Higher and Post-Secondary Education and Administration. His time at ASU included working with the ASU wrestling team, as well as the freestyle Olympic wrestling teams.

After receiving his master’s degree, Gavin returned to his hometown and spent the next five years as a high school athletic trainer. In addition, he acted as preceptor for both high school athletes and local college students. Through all of his experiences, Gavin feels that returning an athlete to play is the best part of his work.

Feeling the urge to head west, he recently made his home in Central Oregon. Gavin is thrilled to join the Center Foundation, and looks forward to serving the students at Bend Senior High School.

A Little More About Gavin…

What was your first job? Lifeguard

What is your favorite food? Deer jerky

Tell us something quirky or interesting about you? I love to snowboard and surf.

What is one thing you would like people to know about athletic trainers? Athletic trainers are health care professionals, and they will be with you during every step of your recovery.

To learn more about our high school athletic training team here.
Find out how you can support the work of The Center Foundation here.

5 Tips to Get Ready for Fall Sports

We are all in a holding pattern as we wait to learn the status of school sports for fall. However, it is important that you don’t wait to get prepared for the upcoming season. Follow these 5 tips now to be ready for sports this September!

Get OK to Play

Visit your primary care physician for an annual wellness exam, including your sports physical. Make sure you start the season healthy by visiting your doctor, and our athletic trainers will be there to keep you healthy. Learn more about getting OK to Play!

Get Used to the Heat

With summer still in full swing, the early sports season can be hot! Get your body used to the heat gradually by starting early and slowly. If you take your time increasing your exposure to exercising in the heat, your body will adapt. As a reminder, head back to this article for the top tips for hot weather exercise.

Get Fit Early

Don’t spend the summer sitting on the couch playing video games! Instead, start getting in shape early by doing general exercise like running and weightlifting. If you have spent some time on the couch, read this article on getting back to fitness.

Heal Old Injuries

If you still have lingering injuries from the past season, its important to use this time to heal. Whether you need rest, a visit to the doctor, or some time in rehab, get started now. Regardless of the injury, you can train around it safely with guidance from a qualified healthcare professional.

Food and Water

Proper nutrition and hydration are the most basic things you must have to be ready for the sports season. Eating well not only helps your body grow strong, but also helps your body recover. Need a reminder on good nutrition for athletes? Check out this article on nutrition.

Still Need Help?

Talk to your athletic trainer if you need help developing a rehab or training plan to get ready for the upcoming sports season. Athletic trainers specialize in injury prevention and they can help you reach your sports goals safely.

One last thing - we realize that this summer is different than previous summers due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. For that reason, we remind you that It is important that you do not exercise if you are not feeling well. In addition, if you have a fever, cough, or you are short of breath, call your doctor. Do not return to physical activity, whether it is in a group or solo, before you have been cleared by your physician.

Follow these 5 tips, stay healthy and safe, and you will be ready to jump into fall sports!

high five 5 tips for getting ready for fall sports

Burn Injuries – Know What to do This July 4th

 Burn Injuries - Know what to do this Fourth of July

Burn Injuries - Know what to do This July 4th

In my last post, I shared important tips for staying safe on the Fourth of July. By following these tips, you can reduce the risk of injury during your holiday celebrations. If you missed that post, you can read it HERE. Each year, burn injuries account for 44% of the injuries caused by fireworks. Even if you follow all of the safety tips, accidents can still happen, so it is important to learn how to identify and treat burns.

Types of Burns

Classified as first, second, and third degree, appropriate burn treatment will vary depending on the severity and size of the injury.

first degree burn

second degree burn

third degree burn

First-Degree

A first-degree burn is the least severe. Specifically, it occurs when the outer layer of is damaged from touching or picking up a hot object. The skin becomes red at first, and then it eventually dries and peels. Pain from a first-degree burn typically lasts 48-72 hours before subsiding. Another common example of a first-degree burn is a sunburn.

Second-Degree

Second-degree burns happen in the same way as a first-degree burn, but they are more severe. With a second-degree burn, damage occurs to the outer layer of skin, as well as parts of the inner layer of skin. Signs of a second-degree burn include blistering, white blotchy patches on the skin, possibly a deep red color, and the area may look wet and shiny. In addition, there could be swelling, and the area will be painful to the touch.

Third-Degree

Third-degree burns are the most serious and require urgent medical attention. As with second-degree burns, third-degree burns damage both the inner and outer layers of the skin. Visually, the area may look dry and leathery, or the skin may appear charred, black, yellow, white or brown. Interestingly, a third-degree burn is not always painful at the time of injury. This is because of damage to the nerve endings in the area.

BURN FIRST AID FOR MINOR INJURIES

Treat minor burns by cooling the area under running water, or applying a cold, wet compress to the area. If possible, remove anything from the injured area that could restrict circulation such as rings, watches, belts, or tight clothing.  Apply a lotion such as aloe vera gel or other skin moisturizer. This will provide some pain relief and help reduce drying and peeling. Cover the area with a sterile bandage and wrap the area loosely with a clean bandage.

If blisters are present, do not pop them. Popping blisters creates an opening in the skin that can become a source of infection. If a blister does pop, gently clean the area with soap and water, apply an antibiotic ointment, like Neosporin, and cover with a bandage to keep it clean. Taking Tylenol or Ibuprofen can help ease the pain and swelling. Always follow the directions on the bottle for appropriate dosing.

BURN FIRST AID FOR SERIOUS INJURIES

burn first aidIf you can see that the level of damage is deep, covers an area greater than 3 inches, or covers the hands, feet, face, groin, buttocks or a major joint, than you need to call 911 and seek immediate medical care. All third-degree burns as well as some second-degree burns, require immediate medical attention.

While waiting for emergency care to arrive, take steps to protect yourself, the patient, and others from further injury. First, ensure the injured person is in a safe area. Next, check the ABC’s – Airway, Breathing, and Circulation. If there is no pulse and the individual is not breathing, send someone to call 911, start CPR and continue until medical help arrives.

AIRWAY – If the person is unconscious, open the airway by putting one hand on the forehead and the other on the patients chin, then tilt the head back while lifting up the chin.

BREATHING – Look to see if the chest is rising and falling with each breath.

CIRCULATION – Check for a pulse on the neck or wrist.

Once you have confirmed that the injured person is conscious and breathing, make sure to remove any items that restrict the injured area such as jewelry or belts. Cover the burned area with a cool, moist bandage or clean cloth, but do not immerse large burns in water. Elevate the injured area, keep the patient warm, and watch for signs of shock until help arrives.

Finally, when planning your Independence Day celebration, it is a good idea to have a small, well-stocked first aid kit available, and make sure at least one person in your household is CPR trained. If you are not comfortable providing care, or you are not sure what the right course of action is, call 911 or go to your local urgent care or emergency room.

Be safe and have fun this Fourth of July!

Written by: Stuart Schmidt, MS, ATC, CSCS athletic trainer supervisor for The Center Foundation in Bend, OR. Learn more about Stuart HERE.

The Center Foundation provides sports medicine services to young athletes at no charge to the students or their families. We do this by placing certified athletic trainers in local high schools to keep kids safe. Learn more about our work HERE.

REFERENCES:
https://www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/topic/default?id=classification-and-treatment-of-burns-90-P01738
https://www.mayoclinic.org/first-aid/first-aid-burns/basics/art-20056649

6 Tips for a Safe and Fun Fourth of July

From backyard barbecues to spectacular fireworks shows, the 4th of July is the highlight of summer. However, if you don’t take safety precautions, injury and property damage can spoil the fun of the holiday. In fact, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that emergency rooms treated 9,100 injuries from fireworks in 2018. Sadly, kids under the age of 15 sustained 36% of those injuries, most of which were preventable. It is easy to keep your friends and family injury-free and still have a great celebration. Just follow these 6 tips for a safe and fun Fourth of July.

  1. Do not let children play with fireworks. In addition, make sure that there is always an adult supervising any fireworks activity.
  2. Keep a bucket of water or a working hose nearby to douse fireworks if necessary.
  3. Keep spectators, especially children, at a safe distance at all times while lighting fireworks.
  4. Never point a firework at a person, car, house, or other object. Keep the area directly surrounding the firework is clear of any debris that can catch fire or interfere with your ability to retreat.
  5. Do not attempt to re-light a firework that does not start.
  6. Douse used fireworks thoroughly in a bucket of water or with a hose before discarding them in the trash.

We hope that these 6 tips help you enjoy your Fourth of July and stay safe!

Written by: Stuart Schmidt, MS, ATC, CSCS athletic trainer supervisor for The Center Foundation in Bend, OR. Learn more about Stuart HERE.

The Center Foundation provides sports medicine services to young athletes at no charge to the students or their families. We do this by placing certified athletic trainers in local high schools to keep kids safe. Learn more about our work HERE.

REFERENCES:
https://www.cpsc.gov/Safety-Education/Safety-Education-Centers/Fireworks
https://www.chp.edu/injury-prevention/safety/holiday-and-seasonal/fireworks

Back to Fitness after Shutdown

back to fitness after shutdown COVID-19 disrupted all of our planned activities this spring, including school and organized sports. We all did our part to Stay Home and Save Lives, and many of us have lost some fitness along the way. However, as we move through the phases of reopening, it’s time to get back to fitness as our lives slowly start returning to normal.

If the lack of organized activities, sports, gyms, and weight rooms have left you a bit out of shape, it’s important to ease back into activity slowly to prevent injury. You can’t expect to return to the same level and intensity of exercise you were doing before the shutdown. If you try it, your return may be short lived, and you could soon find yourself injured and back on the couch.

Here are a few recommendations for avoiding injury and back to fitness. With a little patience, you can return to your previous levels of activity in time for the fall sports season.

Start Slowly

The National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) recommends that athletes returning to activity begin at about 50% of their pre-shut down volume and intensity. For example, if you were running six days per week, start again with three days If you could do drills for an hour, start with half an hour. In addition, you should spread your activities out evenly throughout the week.

Progress Slowly

When increasing your activity, whether its miles, time, or intensity, the general recommendation is no more than a 10% increase each week. That means, if you did 30 minutes of activity for three days this week for a total of 90 minutes, you could add roughly 10 minutes to your activity next week. Although this sounds like a tiny increase, it does add up over time, and will help you avoid injury.

Practice Self-Care

foam rollingMake time each day to take care of your body. Whether it’s gentle yoga, light stretching, or a dynamic warm up, maintaining and restoring your range of motion is key to not only preventing injury, but also recovering from injury. Likewise, a little self-massage can bring big benefits. Consider combining both stretching and massage together in your routine. For example, you could use a foam roller or lacrosse ball to work out any tight spots in your muscles, and follow it up with a dynamic warm up or light stretching.

Prioritize Sleep

Getting 6-8 hours of sleep each night is important for muscle growth, healing, and recovery. Look at this Sleep Infographic published by the National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA) to learn all about the amazing benefits of a good night’s sleep.

Proper Nutrition

High quality food and proper nutrition provide your body with what it needs to be able to get back to fitness and recover from activity. Look at this previous blog from Bend High Athletic Trainer, Tessa Cashman, for more information about the role of nutrition and injury recovery.

Back to Fitness and Beyond

Finally, it is important to be patient and listen to your body. This is not the time to try to push through an injury or increase your activity just because the program you are following tells you too. Don’t expect to be able to lift the same amount of weight or run at the same speed as you could before. However, if you are patient and follow the recommendations above, you will find that you can get back to fitness. You might even find that, eventually, you are stronger, faster and fitter – all while staying healthy and resistant to injury.

fit girl jumps for joy

If you are not sure how to get started, contact your local high school athletic trainer for help designing a program specific to your needs. You can find contact information for all of our Central Oregon high school athletic trainers HERE.

Written by: Stuart Schmidt, MS, ATC, CSCS athletic trainer supervisor for The Center Foundation in Bend, OR. Learn more about Stuart HERE.

The Center Foundation places dedicated athletic trainers in local high schools to provide sports medicine services to young athletes at no charge to the students or their families. Learn more about our work HERE.

7 Tips for Summer Exercise

Summer is just around the corner and the mercury is going to start rising. Do you know how to stay safe while exercising in the summer heat? Follow these 7 tips for summer exercise to stay cool and get the most out of your hot weather workout.

7 tips for exercise in hot weather exhausted runner

1. Timing

Avoid the heat of the day by exercising in the mornings and evenings. Try to avoid exercising in the hottest part of the day.

2. Go Slow

If you must exercise in the heat of the day, get yourself used to the heat slowly.  This can be done by gradually exposing yourself to the heat by starting with a very short workout, and increasing the amount of time you exercise over several days.

3. Hydrate

Drinking fluids is key! Performance declines with as little as 2-3% decrease in body weight from sweat loss.  In general, you should drink approximately 20 ounces of fluid for every pound lost during exercise. In addition, know how to check your hydration status by looking at the color of your urine. Aim for light yellow or straw colored urine. Dark yellow or brown urine means that you are significantly dehydrated and need to drink more.

4. Clothing

Wear loose synthetic clothing that breathes and wicks moisture. Also, pick light colors over dark colors to help reflect the sun’s heat away from you.

5. Protection

You can keep your body cooler by keeping the sun off your skin. Wear a hat and lightweight long sleeve shirt, and always remember your sunscreen! As you sweat, remember to reapply sunscreen, too.

6. Know the Signs

The signs of heat illness include cramping, confusion, unsteadiness, irritability, vomiting, unusual fatigue, dizziness, nausea, and visual disturbances. Stop exercising and find a cool place to rest if you feel unwell.

7. First Aid

When heat illness strikes, know how to beat it. Immersion in cold water is the best way to treat it quickly. However, if you don’t have access to a tub full of ice water, that’s okay. You can still help by rolling up towels and dunking them in ice water. Wring out the excess water and place the towels over the head, neck, and body to bring the body temperature down.

Staying safe while recreating in the summer heat is easy if you remember these 7 tips. Please share with your friends and teammates, and let us how you stay cool while exercising in the heat this summer!

Written by: Alex Walker, ATC, athletic trainer for The Center Foundation and Sisters High School in Sisters, OR. Learn more about Alex HERE.

The Center Foundation places dedicated athletic trainers in local high schools to provide sports medicine services to young athletes at no charge to the students or their families. Learn more about our work HERE.

https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/warning.html accessed 5/29/2020

Quadriceps Mobility and Strength

The forgotten muscle in performance and injury prevention.

quadriceps mobility

It's common to see athletes of all ages and abilities engaged in prolonged, static stretching of a muscle or muscle group. Imagine the classic scene of a jogger stopping at a park bench for a quick hamstring stretch. From competitive sport to physical education classes to yoga, passive static stretching is the norm. In fact, hamstring stretches are one of the mainstay stretches used by everyone. However, this may not be the path to performance and injury prevention that many believe it to be. Increased mobility, pain-free function, and injury prevention may actually require that we flip the relationship between strength and flexibility in the lower extremity. It makes more sense to stretch our quadriceps instead of strengthening them, and strengthen our hamstrings instead of stretching them.

Anatomy

Appreciating the interconnectedness of tissues in the human body helps when we consider how and why we stretch. A prime example is the lumbo-pelvic-hip complex. Essentially, the quadriceps and the hamstrings meet at the bones of the pelvis, creating a fulcrum. There is a basic relationship between the anterior thigh (quadriceps and hip flexors) and posterior thigh (hamstrings and glutes). That relationship influences the muscles of the abdominal wall and low back via the pelvis. This is possible because they share a similar front to back of the body relationship through the pelvis.

Mechanics

As this relates to the muscles of the thigh, the quadriceps are typically in a shortened position. At the same time, the hamstrings are elongated. To understand this, picture your position when sitting in your favorite easy chair. The same holds true for most of our daily activity like walking or standing. Because of this, the hamstrings are constantly at a disadvantage. Static stretching of the hamstrings only makes the situation worse. The already chronically stretched hamstring gives up even more ground to the quadriceps in relation to the pelvic fulcrum and becomes weaker.

Quadriceps & Hamstring Imbalances

Research suggests the ratio of hamstring to quadriceps strength should be roughly 0.6. This means that the hamstrings possesses 60% of the strength of the quadriceps. In athletic populations, this strength ratio is closer to 1.0, or equal, for purposes of injury prevention. Static stretching weakens force production, reduces strength endurance, and diminishes sprint performance. Because of this, we may be putting ourselves at a mechanical disadvantage by habitually stretching our hamstrings. This could potentially result in causing injury instead of preventing injury.

So, is it better to skip stretching?

kettlebell swing quadriceps mobilityAs a rule, its still important to stretch. But, it's all about timing - post-exercise v. pre-exercise, and type - dynamic v. static. When stretching, focus on the results you want. Ask yourself what area of your body you are mobilizing, and what mechanical changes are occurring as a result. For example, if we stretch the quadriceps with an emphasis on movement, it helps reduce tension in the hamstrings. Therefore, our muscles are more ready for training and competition. Another key step is the addition of high quality strength and conditioning focused on the posterior muscles. Examples include dead lifts and kettle bell swings. So keep stretching, training, and playing. At the same time, be mindful that sometimes our attempts at preventing injury aren’t always what they seem.

 

Written by: Ross Dexter, DAT, MKin, ATC, CSCS athletic trainer for The Center Foundation and Summit High School in Bend, OR. Learn more about Ross HERE.

The Center Foundation places dedicated athletic trainers in local high schools to provide sports medicine services to young athletes at no charge to the students or their families. Learn more about our work HERE.

References:

Janda V. Muscles and motor control in low back pain: Assessment and management. In: Twomey Lt. Physical therapy of the low back. New York, Edinburgh, London: Churchill Livingston, 1987;253-87

Ogura Y, Miyahara Y, Naito H, Katamoto S, Aoki J. Duration of static stretching influences muscle force production in hamstring muscles. J Strength Cond R. 2007;21(3):788-92 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17685679

Nelson AG, Kokkonen J, Arnall DA. Acute muscle stretching inhibits muscle strength endurance performance. J Strength Cond Res. 2005;19(2):338-43. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15903372

Nelson AG, Driscoll NM, Landin DK, Young MA, Schexnayder IC. Acute effects of passive muscle stretching on sprint performance. J Sports Sci. 2005:23(5);449-54 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16194993

Winchester JB, Nelson AG, Landin D, Young MA, Schexnayder IC. 2008. Static stretching impairs sprint performance in collegiate track and field athletes. J Strength Cond Res. 2005:22(1);13-19 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18296950

Coombs R and Garbutt G. Developments in the use of the hamstring/quadriceps ratio for the assessment of muscle balance. J Sports Sci Med. 2002:1(3); 56-62 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24701125

Holcomb WR, Rubley MD, Lee HJ. Effect of Hamstring-Emphasized Resistance Training on Hamstring: Quadriceps Strength Ratios. J Strength Cond Res. 2007:21(1);41-47 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17313266

Lake JP and Lauder MA. (2012). Kettlebell swing training improves maximal and explosive strength. J Strength Cond Res. 2012:26(8);2228-33 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22580981

Zebis MK, Skotte J, Andersen CH, Mortensen P, Petersen HH, Viskær TC, Jensen TL, Bencke J, Andersen LL. Kettlebell swing targets semitendinosus and supine leg curl targets biceps femoris: an EMG study with rehabilitation implications. Br J Sports Med. 2013:47(18);1192-98 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22736206

Stay Active in Quarantine

girl running

It been over two weeks since all of our lives were upended by the COVID-19 Pandemic. With the closure of schools, cancellation of sports seasons, and Stay Home Save Lives, it seems harder to stay active. However, it is important that all of us, young and old, make a commitment to stay active, both physically and mentally,  during this time of social distancing and home quarantine.

How Much Activity Should You Get

Whether you are a high school athlete or an adult working from home, it is important to find ways to maintain your activity level. Staying fit will reduce your risk of injury once you do return to sports and normal physical pursuits. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that all adults get at least 30-60 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio exercise 5 days a week, as well as 2-3 days per week of strength training.

Best Ways to Stay Active

In spite of the Stay at Home order, it is still okay and encouraged that you get outside and go for walks and runs. By staying in your own neighborhood, and maintaining proper social distancing, you can easily meet the recommendations for cardio exercise. In addition, walking and running are great ways to escape the monotony of indoor life while helping to relieve stress and anxiety. Admittedly, we can all benefit from that in these stressful times.  Find ways to get outside and be active, whether it is in your backyard or in your neighborhood. It is crucial to maintaining physical and mental health during these uncertain times.

Share With Us

What are you doing to stay active, healthy, and maintain your fitness during this time? Please share, and feel free to send us any questions you may have about tips to stay healthy. We will do our best to answer your questions in upcoming blog articles!

Written by: Stuart Schmidt, MS, ATC, CSCS athletic trainer supervisor for The Center Foundation in Bend, OR. Learn more about Stuart HERE.

The Center Foundation places dedicated athletic trainers in local high schools to provide sports medicine services to young athletes at no charge to the students or their families. Learn more about our work HERE.

Muscle Injuries in Cold Weather

Many athletes in Central Oregon participate in outdoor sports during the winter when temperatures reach freezing, or even dip below. Muscle injuries in cold weather are a common occurrence. It’s important to understand why they happen and how to prevent them.

The Cause of Muscle Injuries

Is cold weather causing muscle injuries? The answer is yes and no. The temperature outside does not cause a strained muscle. However, there is a risk, and it comes from muscles that are not warm enough to participate in the upcoming activity. Winter sports often have periods of downtime when the athlete is not moving. They may be taking a break, sitting through time-out or half time, or waiting for their turn to compete. Regardless of the reason, the athlete’s body cools down rapidly during inactivity in cold weather. When the body cools down, so do the muscles.

Most people agree that going from resting on the couch to doing full sprints is not a good idea, even on a warm day. Plus, when athletes are outside in the cold, they tend to try to get warm in ways other than moving. When you have been stationary prior to exercise, you don’t have enough blood in the muscles you use for your sport. You are now at risk for muscle injuries when you suddenly start to move.

Prevention of Muscle Injuries

When it is cold outside, your body stores more heat in your core and less in your arms and legs. Studies show that a proper warm-up will increase heat due to blood flow, but it can also improve neuromuscular activation – the ability of your muscles and nerves to work together in a coordinated way. Muscles preconditioned by warming up have the ability to withstand greater forces than muscles that have not gone through a warm-up. Therefore, by doing a warm-up, you decrease your risk of muscle injury because your muscles have proper blood flow and muscular activation.

soccer players dynamic warm up

What is a proper warm-up?

A proper warm-up consists of dynamic stretches, aerobic activity, and sport specific submaximal exercises.

Dynamic Stretching

Dynamic stretching is moving a muscle or muscle group through the same range of motion required for the specific sport. For example, if your sport includes running, you might want to do a slow march with high knees and swinging arms. Specific movements vary greatly from sport to sport.

Aerobic Warm-up

An aerobic activity warm-up should be short and at a light level of effort. Examples of aerobic warm-ups include, light jogging, biking, swimming, and the use of aerobic equipment like rowing machines.

Submaximal Exercises

Sport specific submaximal exercises are best towards the end of the warm-up session, and they will be similar to your sport activity. Examples of these exercises include, running through plays at slow speed, passing a soccer ball around, warming up your free throw, or playing catch with a teammate.

The full warm-up period should last at least fifteen minutes prior to the sport activity. And, in cold weather, each break in activity requires another warm-up session prior to rejoining the sport. Whether the temperatures are warm or freezing, an athlete should always do some warm-up when they have been stationary for a prolonged period. The key to avoiding muscular injuries is keeping your muscles ready to safely jump back into the game.

Written by: Tessa Cashman, ATC athletic trainer for The Center Foundation and Bend Senior High School in Bend, OR. Learn more about Tessa HERE.

The Center Foundation places dedicated athletic trainers in local high schools to provide sports medicine services to young athletes at no charge to the students or their families. Learn more about our work HERE.

REFERENCES:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21544000
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18027995
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3377095