Easing Back Into Outdoor Activities

Augusta is a wonderland of gorgeous outdoor spaces, including parks, trails, lakes, woods and the Savannah River, to name a few.

If you’re not exercising regularly, now is as good a time as any to get back into a workout routine. Due to COVID-19 gyms are closed, but that shouldn’t stop you from exercising. Skip the gym and head outside for some biking, hiking, running, tennis or golf. Exercising outdoors can help alleviate tension and depression, which improves your mood and your mental health. As a precaution, the CDC recommends to maintain at least six feet between you and other people to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Be careful, though. You’re going to want to ease into this to prevent any setbacks. Follow these tips from an expert:

  1. Set Goals: Goal setting is crucial for motivation. The more specific the goal, the better. “It’s important to set both short- and long-term goals,” said Mark Snoddy, MD, an orthopaedic surgeon at Augusta University Health. “A short-term goal might be to run a few days a week, or ride a bike one day a week and go lift weights on another day. A long-term goal might be a timed mile run.”
  1. Warm Up: “A lot of times, sprains and strains are due to a lack of warming up,” Dr. Snoddy said. “A lot of us think we’re still in our high school bodies. We can’t overestimate the need for truly warming up before we jump back into exercise.” A thorough warm-up will prepare your muscles and joints, helping to prevent any nagging injuries. If you haven’t exercised in a while, start with more stretching than normal. “Before you play 18 holes of golf, you should stretch and hit some practice shots,” Dr. Snoddy said. “The same goes for any activity you haven’t done in a while. Take 10 minutes to get your muscles loosened up.”
  1. Don’t Overdo It: Start with an easy exercise, then work your way up. Your first goal is to just get moving.

When It’s Time to Replace A Joint

Keep in mind that joint replacement surgeries are becoming more common, with more than one million Americans a year having their knees or hips replaced. To stay on the leading edge of modern medicine, Augusta University Orthopaedics has a team of surgeons who specialize in this kind of surgery.

Thanks to medical advances, joint replacement patients can start therapy right after surgery and recuperate more quickly than they could in the past.

“With new drug techniques and the latest technology, patients can get back to playing golf and tennis within a couple of months after their surgery,” said Mark Snoddy, MD, an orthopaedic surgeon at Augusta University Health.

If you feel like you’ve overdone it, get treated by a professional. The Augusta University Ortho On-Demand Clinic provides walk-in care treating those with sports, work, and home related injuries. Call 706-721-2741 with any questions, or learn more at augustahealth.org/ondemand. No appointments or referrals required. Hours: Monday through Thursday 1-8 pm and Friday 1-4 pm.

Know your joint health. Start by taking this Healthy Joint Quiz.

About the author

Augusta University Health

Based in Augusta, Georgia, Augusta University Health is a world-class health care network, offering the most comprehensive primary, specialty and subspecialty care in the region. Augusta University Health provides skilled, compassionate care to its patients, conducts leading-edge clinical research and fosters the medical education and training of tomorrow’s health care practitioners. Augusta University Health is a not-for-profit corporation that manages the clinical operations associated with Augusta University.