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The Be Well Podcast: Preparing for a Workout or Run - Jon Ruff, PA-C

Listen in or read from the partial transcript below as Jon Ruff, PA-C, Orthopedics and Sports Medicine provider at Skagit Regional Health, discusses the healthiest ways that you can prepare your body for a workout.

Joey Wahler (host): If you've not been exercising, you'll want to go about it the right way to maximize your efforts and avoid injury. So, we're discussing preparing for a workout or a run. This is Be Well with Skagit Regional Health. Thanks for listening. I'm Joey Wahler. Our guest is John Ruff, an orthopedic physician assistant for Skagit Regional Health. John, thanks for joining us.

John Ruff, PA-C: Hello, Joey. Thanks for having me.

Joey Wahler (host): So, this is an important topic because some people tend to do too much too soon if they've been inactive for a while. So first, especially for those that haven't been exercising, why don't you describe, please, your recommended pre-run or pre-workout stretch routine? Because Lord knows there are people like me that until later in life didn't even stretch at all, believe it or not.

Jon Ruff, PAJohn Ruff, PA-C: Yeah, exactly. My pre-run recommendations before starting a new workout or routine is really about, like you mentioned, prevention of injury. So, the most important thing that you focus on is warm up before you stretch. So, I see some people starting to stretch before they've done anything, and that actually can almost make injury more likely to happen. So I kind of compare this to people, the difference between stretching cold taffy versus warm taffy. So, I recommend people getting blood flow into the muscles first to warm them up. So, you can do this by, you know, simple jumping jacks, walking in place, or you can do like a little mini jog before you stretch.

So, most athletes start to bead a little bit or start to sweat, meaning they've gotten some good blood flow and warmth into their muscles before they start the stretch. So, that's really important before a workout to avoid injury. So, it's important when you're stretching. Many people in studies refer to more dynamic stretching, which means, you know, the people that are jumping around, swinging their arms instead of bending over and stretching for 30 seconds. If you overstretch the muscles, it can actually cause them to strain a little more than you want. So, some sort of activity to get the muscles flowing, get the blood going, and then you do some shorter stretches before you actually start the exercise itself. And I think that really helps prevent injury for those who, like you said, have been sedentary and haven't been running too much and aren't used to that level of activity.

Joey Wahler (host): So it seems your message there simply put is even when stretching or prior to that, when warming, there is a method to that as well. So, what injuries can occur from not properly warming up, stretching and training before you engage in an intense workout or a distance run? What can happen if you don't follow the rules, so to speak?

John Ruff, PA-C: People get kind of a little adrenaline rush and probably run like they did when they were in high school or go a little too far too fast. So, usually, you'll see things like stress fractures, tendon strains, ligament sprains, cramps and spasms are the main ones. So if you don't warm up, your muscle or tendon gets pulled a little farther than it's used. And so that's why that warm up and that stretch before to get the elasticity or stretching back in those tendons of ligaments before you start really helps avoid any of those injuries we mentioned.

Joey Wahler (host): So, besides the stretching, is there anything else people can do to prevent soreness either before or after workouts or runs, again, especially if they've been more sedentary for a while?

John Ruff, PA-C: I recommend to people avoiding quitting activity once they've started up in a new exercise for more than three weeks. Because after three weeks, if you haven't done pushups or running or used a certain muscle group, then you get what's called delayed onset muscle soreness. And that's where you get this lactic acid build up after your workout and then you have a lot of that post workout day one and day two severe soreness. So actually, maintaining a workout once you do begin or maintaining slowly building up that level of activity is critical, and not taking more than three-week vacations to make you feel better after exercise. And if you avoid that downfall of that severe soreness afterwards, then people are a lot more likely to stay active and keep exercising, which is really our ultimate goal.

To listen to the podcast or read the full transcript, visit here.