Guest Post by:
Brittany Darling, MS, ATC
MUSC Sports Medicine
At any age, we find enjoyment in picking up new sports and activities to help keep us active and entertained. From tennis to mountain biking, and yoga to hiking, or even swimming and dancing; these are all excellent examples of new activities that can easily be started for exercise, health, and overall enjoyment. Personally, I encourage my athletes to take interest in a difference sport or activity that can provide them with a mental break while still being active. The important and sometimes difficult part is to try not to get hurt in the process.
When thinking of beginning a new sport or exercise routine, it is important to do a little bit of research first. For example: what type of equipment will be necessary and is there a specific type of footwear that is recommended. Hiking in sandals or doing yoga without the yoga mat can be a recipe for disaster. I would recommend either viewing the specific exercise class first, or speaking with someone who has performed or participated the activity before, this way they can provide you with the insight you are looking for. Of course, also be sure to do your adequate research with the internet as well.
Once getting started, it is important to not get disheartened early on. What appears to be simple may in actuality by very difficult, and can take some time to get used to. This being said, it is also likely that there can be some soreness in muscles you have never experienced before. Combining these new exercises with proper nutrition and stretching routines will help to keep the body healthy and performing at its full potential. Pushing through some discomfort may be necessary, however it is very important to differentiate between the pain and soreness- yes, there is a difference. Although every individual will have different levels of pain tolerance, I typically describe pain as something that has a debilitating effect on the body so that it is unable to function as it normally would. Also, pain is typically found in one very specific area. Discomfort, or soreness, can be in a more localized area and will not have a severe effect on how your body is moving and functioning. It also may improve with light movement, stretching, and NSAIDs (ibuprofen). It is imperative that as you progress in your new undertaking that you are careful and aware with how your body is feeling and performing. If at any time pain is felt for a period of time or with specific movements, stop the exercise and seek medical attention from an athletic trainer or orthopedic specialist.