Living Healthy By Avoiding All Kinds Of Injuries

What are the obstacles between you and being more active? What if someone could help you overcome them?

An important part of a healthy life is keeping active. For some, that can mean participating in sports leagues or distance races. For others, that can mean just getting out regularly for a brisk walk.

No matter what your level of activity, it’s important to be safe when you do it. I’ll be talking about this topic at an upcoming “The Doc is In” event from 5 to 6 p.m. on September 13 at the Owensboro Health Healthpark. This event, which is free and open to the public, will include an opportunity for guests to ask questions and learn more about a number of topics, including those below.

Overcoming Obstacles

When you think about injury, you might think about a broken bone or a pulled muscle. From my perspective, injury goes well beyond that. When I talk with patients, we discuss anything limiting them from staying active. Certainly, this could be their injured shoulder or knee, but also can include their fears of exercising with chronic problems, such as high blood pressure and diabetes.

The reason for this is simple: You want to stay healthy. Nobody wants to pull a muscle and hobble around for weeks. However, the fear of your blood sugar bottoming, a flare of your asthma or even having a heart attack is equally limiting. If you engage in physical activity improperly, you can get hurt. If you aren’t active at all, you can develop chronic health problems.

My job as a sports medicine physician is to help you overcome injuries if necessary, but even more importantly, prevent them whenever possible through an individualized exercise prescription. For patients who are healthy, I am there to offer tips and tools to keep them healthy and active. For those who face challenges like chronic health problems or previous injuries, my goal is to help them get rid of those obstacles or find ways to overcome them.

Get Off The Couch & Save Your Life

Spending too much time being inactive seems harmless, right? The truth is that it’s a danger to your health. The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified physical inactivity as the fourth most common factor leading to death worldwide. Further, they estimate that as many as 35 percent of adults in the United States are currently physically inactive.

Lack of physical activity is connected to increased risk of multiple chronic problems. The list includes heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and multiple types of cancer. Put another way, the WHO found that if physical inactivity was decreased by 25 percent, 1.3 million deaths could be prevented each year.

The WHO recommends that all adults get a total of 30 minutes of moderate activity at least five days each week. The best part about moderate physical activity is that it can be as varied and individualized as you are, and it doesn’t have to be all at once. If you do a web search for “moderate physical activity” you’ll find a list from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American College of Sports Medicine. On it, you’ll find the following activities and many more:

  • Walking (3-5 mph) or hiking
  • Ballroom, square or line dancing
  • Golfing
  • Playing Frisbee
  • Canoeing, kayaking or rowing a boat (at less than 4 mph)
  • Gardening and yard work (raking, weeding, etc.)
  • Waxing the car

Building A Healthier You

If you’re sick, I want to help you get better. If you’re well, I want to help keep you that way. It’s very rewarding to help someone get better when they’ve been hurt or sick, but even more satisfying is helping someone avoid illness and injury. Whether it’s a specialist like myself or your primary care provider, we can offer you tools, tips and resources to help you along the way.

Just as nobody goes out and runs a marathon without training, nobody just gets up one day and becomes healthier. It’s a process, and it takes time to make it a part of your life. Along the way, you’ll learn things about how to be active safely, how to care for your body, the foods you can eat that will help you stay healthy and more. You can also learn to adapt and overcome previous injuries or illnesses, so they don’t hinder you from living your life.

I invite you to come to “The Doc is In” event from 5 to 6 p.m. on September 13 at the Owensboro Health Healthpark. I hope to see you there and to help you learn more about living a healthier life, no matter what your circumstances.

Dr. Jody Mitchell is board certified in family medicine and sports medicine and practices with Owensboro Health Medical Group. For more information about the upcoming “The Doc is In” event, call 270-688-4855.