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Your Healthy Family: Has your exercise resolution fizzled already or caused an injury?

Posted: 10:35 AM, Jan 15, 2020
Updated: 2020-01-15 13:44:36-05

COLORADO SPRINGS — It’s that time in January when our zest for our New Year’s resolutions may be wearing off a bit. If you set a goal to get back in the gym and become more fit, how's that going? Hopefully you’re not sidelined because of injury.

We often hear the advice to consult a doctor before beginning a new workout plan, but how many of us really do that?

Dr. Ian Tullberg, is the Urgent Care Medical Director for UCHeatlh in southern Colorado and also serves as the Medical Director over athletic training for Academy School District 20 in Colorado Springs.

Dr. Tullberg says, “In over 10 years I've been doing either urgent care or primary care, I've seen one patient that has done that. (consulted him before beginning an exercise regimen) That was one out of thousands and thousands.”
Dr. Tullberg says, “In over 10 years I've been doing either urgent care or primary care, I've seen one patient that has done that. (consulted him before beginning an exercise regimen) That was one out of thousands and thousands.”
There can be many reasons why it’s valuable to talk with your doctor before starting a new exercise routine. For one, Dr. Tullberg explains, “If your blood pressure is sky-high and you don't know it - say 240 over 150 - and that's just normal for you and you start an exercise regimen, that's going to skyrocket. That could make you prime-time for a stroke or even a heart attack. You need to make sure that you are healthy enough to begin whatever type of exercise regimen that you're looking at doing.”

Overdoing it right out of the gate is another common mistake, says Dr. Tullberg. “They start way too intense. Maybe they will think back to when they were 15 or 20 and they could exercise for an hour, or an hour and a half. Those folks that [exercise] two hours a day, unless you're Dwayne Johnson that [exercises] two hours a day, every day - you're going to get burned out or you're going to end up injured. I saw a patient this week with an overuse injury of the foot because you just do a little bit too much and your body's not used to it.”

Dr. Tullberg also says starting a new workout habit gradually has several benefits. “You can maintain your motivation and you're likely not going to get injured. You will be able to maintain your motivation and build a routine.”

Dr. Tullberg says a little bit of exercise more often is one of the best things you can do for your health. “You should be getting about 75 minutes of vigorous activity, or 150 minutes of moderate activity a week. You don't want to put all that in one day; that is not going to be nearly as beneficial for you health-wise as it would be if it’s spread out across the week.”
Dr. Tullberg says a little bit of exercise more often is one of the best things you can do for your health. “You should be getting about 75 minutes of vigorous activity, or 150 minutes of moderate activity a week. You don't want to put all that in one day; that is not going to be nearly as beneficial for you health-wise as it would be if it’s spread out across the week.”
When do you know it's time to get an exercise-related injury looked at? Dr. Tullberg says each case can be different but in general, “if it’s an ache or mild pain and you're still able to walk around, and it's not really impeding in your daily activities, take a little break and take some anti-inflammatories. If it's something that is interfering with your daily life or, you can't go to the gym because it's causing you too much pain, you need to come in and see me.”

An injury that’s not getting better after you have given it some time off and rest is another sign you may want to check in with a doctor.

Dr. Tullberg says following that advice can be easier said than done. He’s a world-class athlete himself - a five-time regional masters vaulting champion, who ranked 3rd in the world in outdoor competition in 2019. But he himself is currently sidelined by injury.

“I will tell you personally, I started having some problems toward the end of last season and unfortunately ended on an injury. I took a couple months off and felt 100% better getting back into it. But the pain continued and I was one of those dumb males that didn’t want to listen to my body, and now I'm I'm in an orthopedic’s care and unable to run. These are the things that can happen if you don't listen to yourself. Even if you try to listen to yourself - sometimes we talk ourselves out of really what's right and can end up in this kind of situation. You want a new exercise resolution to be a long-term thing, not just short-term so make sure to listen to yourself and your body and do it right.”

If you have questions, make sure to follow up with your doctor.

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