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© 2018 by Madison Physical Therapy

Fall Season Safety Tips!

Looking to stay active this fall? As the cooler months approach, you may find it harder to stay active outdoors. Spending more time indoors can lead to immobility, arthritis, and even seasonal depression. It is important to keep moving and live a healthy and active lifestyle even during colder months. Here are some tips to help you stay active and decrease the risk of catching a cold, pneumonia, or an infection!


 

  • Exercise Daily - Performing 30-60 minutes of cardiovascular exercise is imperative to maintaining a healthy routine. During the fall, you can go on plenty of nearby hiking trails or walking pathways to help circulate the blood. Walking also helps reduce the risk of arthritis and developing blood clots. Remember to keep hydrated during exercise, consuming at least 6-8 eight-ounce glasses of water per day. Wearing comfortable walking shoes improves posture and helps prevent tendinitis, back pain, and heel spurs. Also, Lyme disease is prevalent in the Northeast so it is important to check for any ticks after a walk outdoors. Exposure to the sun daily is recommended to increase Vitamin D levels and reduce the likelihood of seasonal affective disorder, due to the shorter day and gloomy weather.

  • Avoid Common Sports and Fall Injuries - Common sports in the fall include football, soccer, lacrosse, and volleyball. These sports expose a risk to common injuries such as back strain, neck strain, ACL tear, wrist fractures, and hip fractures. Elderly people are especially prone to hip fractures, especially when visibility is limited in cloudy, dark weather. Common tips to avoid injury include proper stretching prior to working out, proper balance and posture during walking and prolonged sitting, and rest after prolonged running activities. Plantar fasciitis, for example, is due to micro tears in the ligaments that attach to the heel bone. It is caused by repetitive trauma to the foot secondary to prolonged, daily running, specifically on the concrete ground. While a doctor may prescribe NSAIDs and imaging to evaluate the pain, a physical therapist can work with you to help stabilize and strengthen your lower walking muscles. While playing sports, it is very important to wear the proper attire including cleats, braces, shin guards, and/or a helmet to prevent trauma to the bone and muscle.

  • Prepare for Changes in Weather Patterns - Temperatures can sometimes drop to freezing, especially in the late fall. It is during these weather changes that the body is most prone to illness such as pneumonia, influenza, the common cold, and even frostbite. A flu vaccine every fall is important to reduce risk of influenza virus. Also, wearing loose, layered clothing can help keep your core temperature warm. If temperatures are too cold, you can still stay active by exercising indoors in a gym or class, such as Zumba, yoga or spinning class. Avoid direct exposure to heavy wind and make sure to cover your ears and wear a hat to prevent the spread of viruses. It is especially important to limit exposure to closed areas with decreased ventilation that increase the spread of germs. During this season when the risk of falls and infection is especially high, it is important to keep your immune system strong with daily exercise. While daily vitamins are not currently recommended by doctors, it is important to eat a healthy diet with foods rich in vitamins including Vitamin C, Vitamin B12, iron, calcium, magnesium and Vitamin A. A healthy diet rich in these vitamins play an important role in keeping a healthy and active immune system. Warm foods such as tea, protein-rich soups, and stews and chili can help maintain a healthy weight during this season. It is important to limit fatty foods high in carbohydrates such as pastries and doughnuts, no matter how tempting! In addition, ingredients such as ginger, turmeric, and cinnamon can help immunity during these colder months as well.

For all your physical therapy needs, contact us at Madison Physical Therapy to help you feel your best this fall season!