Many sports and exercise injuries can be prevented

7349474_S-450x288When it comes to sports and exercise, there’s probably nothing worse than getting into a good groove only to have your efforts halted in their tracks by an injury. Not only is it incredibly frustrating in the moment, but that injury could haunt you for weeks or even years.

The good news is that many of the most common exercise and sports-related injuries can be prevented by taking some simple steps:

Warm up and cool down. It may seem like a waste of time, but a few minutes spent warming up and cooling down are vital for preventing injuries. Proper warm-up increases the blood flow to muscles and improves flexibility. Incorporating a cool-down exercise after your workout allows your heart rate to decrease gradually.

Stretch. While there is some debate over the effectiveness of stretching in preventing injuries, there is enough evidence pointing to its benefits that most experts recommend including at least moderate stretching as part of your routine. Try using dynamic stretches after your warm-up and cool-down for best results.

Take it easy. Getting started with a new exercise routine or sport? It’s time to go gradual. It may be tempting to push your body to the limits early on, but doing so is almost a sure-fire way to get hurt. Instead, increase the frequency, duration, and intensity of your workout over an extended period of time.

Use proper form and protective gear. Many injuries can be traced back to improper technique. For example, it’s a common perception that running is bad for your knees. However, many experts suggest that, in reality, running can actually be good for your joints if you have proper form. Wearing protective gear, when warranted, along with proper shoes and clothing also play an important role in injury prevention.

Know when to stop. The old adage “no pain, no gain” shouldn’t be taken as a blanket statement. Know your body and listen to it. Pushing your way through minor pain could lead to long-term injuries. When our bodies are tired, the protective mechanics become lax, increasing our risk for damage to muscles, tendons, and joints. This is especially important to teach our young athletes who may not always recognize the signs of a pending injury.

Talk to your doctor. Before you begin any new exercise, take time to visit with your physician.

When was your last vision exam?

58134118 - table for eyesight test and glasses over it - studio shotYou get once-yearly health checks and dental cleanings every six months. But when was the last time you had your eyes checked? Many people put off regular eye exams because they are busy or think it’s an unnecessary cost. But yearly eye exams can help detect and treat a number of serious eye conditions such as glaucoma and diabetic eye disease. Many problems with eyes provide no early warning signs or symptoms, and can only be detected through a comprehensive eye exam. You may not realize that eye exams also can help detect health conditions such as diabetes, high cholesterol and even high blood pressure.

According to the American Optometric Association, infants should have their first comprehensive eye exam at 6 months of age. Children should receive eye exams when they turn 3 and right before they start attending kindergarten. Annual eye exams are always a good idea for children, especially those who wear glasses or contact lenses.

For adults ages 18 to 60, health experts recommend getting an eye exam at least every two years. Seniors 61 and older should get annual eye exams due to higher risk factors for eye disease, including the most common one, age-related macular degeneration.

Getting married? It’s time to review your health insurance coverage

38163405_SIt’s wedding season! Did you know that tying the knot could provide an opportunity for you to obtain health insurance coverage before the next open enrollment period?

When you experience a ‘qualifying life event,’ you may be eligible for a Special Enrollment Period in which you can obtain health insurance coverage outside the official open enrollment period. It’s a valuable window of opportunity. But you need to act fast. You’ll generally have only 60 days from the qualifying life event to obtain coverage.

Other qualifying events can include the birth or adoption of a child and the loss of a job. You also may be able to purchase insurance coverage outside of the open enrollment period if your employer-sponsored health insurance coverage becomes unaffordable. Other ‘qualifying life events’ include gaining citizenship or legal immigration status or being released from jail or prison.

Questions about Special enrollment periods? Want to see if you qualify for one? Call us today at (303) 663-9991. We’re here to help!