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Health Information Exercise Tips for You and Your Family

A Season for Action

Exercise tips for you and your family

The fragrant smell of flowers in bloom, the roar of crowds celebrating (or cursing) their favorite Chicago baseball team. Both are signs that good weather has hit Chicago, and it’s time to put away the remote control and get outside to enjoy your favorite physical activities.

The return to an active lifestyle — or the beginning of one — requires special attention to your body’s needs. “Preparation is key to getting the most out of your exercise program and avoiding injuries,” says Kathleen Weber, MD, a sports medicine specialist at RUSH University Medical Center. “This is true whether you’re someone who jogs twice a week or if you’re a professional athlete,” adds Brian Cole, MD, also a sports medicine physician at RUSH.

Cole and Weber should know. They and their colleagues at Midwest Orthopaedics at RUSH, along with internists at RUSH, are the team physicians of the Chicago White Sox and the Chicago Bulls, and RUSH is the preferred hospital for both of these major league teams.

To help you and your family get your training program started on the right foot, Cole and Weber have provided the following tips:

  1. Stay hydrated. Drinking adequate fluid before, during and after exercise helps prevent dehydration and overheating that ultimately lead to poor performance. Don’t rely on thirst as an indicator of hydration. If your urine is dark yellow and there’s not much of it, you’re dehydrated and should increase your fluid intake.
  2. When starting an exercise program, start with low-intensity exercise such as walking, and slowly increase the intensity. A well-rounded program should include cardiovascular (such as running or cycling), strength (e.g., weight training) and flexibility (e.g., yoga and stretching) training.
  3. Use footwear that is appropriate for the sport you are playing. Shoes should be changed at regular intervals. For example, running shoes should be changed approximately every 400 miles.
  4. To prevent stress fractures — a break in the bone caused by repetitive stress — slowly increase any new sports activity.
  5. Take care of that rotator cuff — the group of muscles that surrounds the shoulder joint and helps to stabilize and move the shoulder — by using lightweight exercises to strengthen the shoulder muscles. When carrying or lifting heavy objects, always keep your elbows bent.

Most important, if an injury does occur and ice isn’t enough to reduce the pain or swelling, call a doctor. To get more tips from sports medicine specialists at RUSH and to find out about RUSH’s upcoming “Training With the Sox Docs” event at U.S. Cellular Field, call (888) 352-RUSH (7874).

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