Health Team

Prevent exercise-related injuries by gradually increasing intensity

Posted April 12, 2012 5:30 p.m. EDT
Updated April 12, 2012 6:15 p.m. EDT

— As spring brings warmer temperatures, more people are exercising outside instead of at the gym. Spring is also peak time for exercise-related injuries, most of which occur when people put more stress on joints than they are used to.

Doctors say that any change in how or where you exercise should be done with caution. The body can become accustomed to the controlled environment of the gym, and the differences present when exercising outdoors can cause injury.

Dr. Curt Hanson of Wake Orthopaedics said that slowly building up to the level of activity you want to achieve can help prevent injury.

"You need to build up to your training regimen, whether that means the temperatures, the surfaces, the mileage, the intensity, all of those things are factors that you need to build into," Hanson said.

Stretching before exercising is another way to prevent injury. Although there has been debate among doctors as to whether or not stretching actually prevents injury, Hanson says there is very little downside to stretching.