The weather is warm and many of us are ready to jump back into our favorite summer activities, hit the gym to work on our beach bodies, or get our yard ready for the season. However, our muscles may not be ready for this kind of activity after spending so much of the winter indoors. The shoulder is the most movable joint in the body, and it relies on the tendons and ligaments to function properly. Those same tendons and ligaments are also very susceptible to strain with a quick increase in activity and use.
To help avoid injury, it’s important to make sure you are properly warmed up and stretched before any activity. Start by getting your joint and the synovial fluid in it moving. This can be as simple as making some small circles with your arms, front and back. Then start slow – if you’re playing tennis, take some easy overhead shots to warm up before beginning to serve. Take your time to get back into your routine and give your body the chance to recover by taking a day off between intense exercise. Going from not practicing at all to practicing your serve for two hours straight can put you at risk of injury since your body isn’t used to that much activity.
When it comes to shoulder pain, exercising can both aggravate pain and help prevent it – it all depends on how you’re exercising. Some exercises put extra strain on your shoulder and if you’re already prone to shoulder pain you’ll want to stick to safer exercises. Look for exercises that stay around or below shoulder height and practice doing more reps at a lower weight. By making a few changes, you can still get that beach body without injuring your shoulder.
Fortunately, within our community, Cone Health has an exceptional network of orthopedic and sports medicine specialists trained to diagnose and treat all types of shoulder injuries and return patients to their normal lives and routines as quickly as possible.
Jesse Chandler, MD, is an orthopedic surgeon in Greensboro and a member of the Cone Health Medical and Dental Staff. Dr. Chandler received his Doctor of Medicine from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in 2004. He completed his residency in orthopedic surgery at the UNC Department of Orthopaedics in 2009 and a fellowship in shoulder and elbow surgery at Rothman Institute in 2010.