Step Up to Summer: Safely Resuming Physical Activities

A customer-owner enjoys a scenic walk to support a gradual return to summer activities

As another beautiful summer begins in Southcentral Alaska, trails are clear of snow, salmon begin to run, and gardens are ready for care. After a winter away, some people may want to rush into summer activities. However, it’s important to gradually return to the things we love doing to prevent an injury from slowing us down.

“Have a plan,” Alati Wasson, Southcentral Foundation physical therapist said. “If you want to do a certain activity this summer, start preparing for that activity now. For example, if you want to participate in a lot of hiking, we suggest starting with some walks now. If you’re going to plant a garden, begin with thinking about the layout now, and pace yourself over a few days versus trying to do everything at one time.”

Wasson also shared that having

a plan and preparing ahead of time can make a big difference and lead to a more enjoyable summer.

If you’re not sure how best to prepare for your summer plans, SCF exercise physiologists can work with you to tailor a plan that meets your specific goals. In addition, online exercise classes, bootcamp, and yoga offer an easy way to get active from the comfort of your home. To view a calendar of events, visit bit.ly/3K4RJG6. You don’t need a referral to speak with exercise physiologists and begin your active summer!

Beginning with a consult, the providers at Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and Exercise can determine how best to meet your fitness goals.

Getting back into physical activity can begin with something as simple as stretching. Taking 10-15 minutes to stretch the main joints of your body will warm up and loosen your muscles, reducing the risk of injury. Importantly, if your physical activity begins to feel painful, stop! Sudden sharp pains, numbness, and tingling can be signs of something serious. Take a few moments to rest, and, if the pain persists or worsens, consult your primary care provider or report to the emergency department.

In the event of an injury, such as a sprain or strain, your provider may refer you to the Complementary Medicine clinic. This clinic offers chiropractic therapy, acupuncture, and clinical massage therapy to provide you relief and additional treatment options, if needed.

“We can do a referral to exercise and that’s beneficial,” Dr. Genevieve John, senior chiropractor in the Complementary Medicine clinic said. “Or if customer-owners need further care—maybe there’s a functional limitation—we’ll communicate with their provider and recommend physical therapy.”

Whatever your care needs are when enjoying an active summer, SCF providers have the tools to help you meet those goals.

“We all work together in our disciplines to assist customer-owners with finding the right provider or the one that might best support their injuries,” John said.

For more information about services with Complementary Medicine, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and Exercise, ask your primary care provider about referral options that could work for you. To schedule an appointment with an exercise physiologist, call (907) 729-6683.

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