Prevent Spring Sports Injuries
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Prevent Spring Sports Injuries

Pain can take the fun out of your favorite spring sports. "That's why it's important to ease in slowly and not overdo it," says Gerard Varlotta, DO, director of Sports Rehabilitation at the NYU Hospital for Joint Diseases and the Rusk Institute, in New York City. Follow his recommendations to prevent these common injuries.
Tennis

Sore spot: Rotator cuff
Keep it strong: Do shoulder-strengthening exercises three times a week. Stand, holding 5-pound weights, arms at your sides. Raise arms in front of you to shoulder level, hold for a few seconds, then lower and repeat, this time out to the sides. Do three sets of 10 to 15 reps.

Walking

Sore spot: Shins
Keep them strong: Loosen calf muscles and Achilles tendons by standing in front of a wall, with one leg forward, knee bent; the other back, with foot flat on the floor. Push against the wall with hands. Hold stretch for 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat two to four times on each side.

Running

Sore spot: Outside of the leg
Keep it strong: Stretch your iliotibial bands, the thick bands of fibrous tissue that run down the outside of the legs, several times a day. Stand near a wall for support and cross your left leg over your right leg at the ankle. Extend your left arm overhead, reaching toward your right side until you feel the stretch along your left hip. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds, switch sides, and repeat.

Golf

Sore spot: Lower back
Keep it strong: Stretch your lower back several times a day by bending forward and letting your arms and head dangle toward your toes for 15 seconds. Also strengthen your core by getting into the "plank" pose (think of the position you're in at the top of a pushup) and holding for 30 seconds. Or do 20 abdominal crunches to build the muscles that support your back.

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