Ask the BJC Expert

Ask the BJC Expert

Exercise and Injury Prevention

Matthew Melander, DO

Published on Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Dr. Matthew Melander provides a wide variety of orthopaedic and sports medicine services to the St. Charles area. Dr. Melander specializes in ACL reconstruction, surgery of the shoulder, knee and hip, and the treatment of injuries in the competitive and recreational athlete. You can contact his office, St. Charles Orthopaedic Surgery Associates, at 636.561.0871.

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Today we are going to talk with Dr. Matthew Melander. He provides a wide variety of orthopedic and sports medicine services to the entire St. Charles area specializing in anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction surgery of the shoulder, knee, hip and also treatment of injuries in the competitive and recreational athletic areas. We will tell you how to get a hold of his St. Charles Orthopedic office a little later on in the interview. Dr. Melander good morning, welcome.

Good morning. Thanks for having me.

We are going to talk today about exercise and physical fitness. Generally speaking, how often should we exercise?

Depending on your activity level there are helpful guidelines out there from the American Heart Association and The American Society of Exercise Physiology. What I like to tell patients in general is if they can get out at least three to five times a week with some form of exercise for at least half an hour then I think that is a good place to start.

Of course, exercise is one thing, but leading up to and after that workout can be key to injury. What are some of the things we need to do after a workout to help our bodies recover?

I would say in general if you are talking about working out whether it is a three to five mile run or weight lifting session beforehand it is a good idea to stretch whether you are doing an upper body workout or going for a run. Stretching out your lower body is recommended and the other thing would be that I would not start off with a sprint. Start off with a light jog and then work into a speed you are comfortable with. Likewise, with upper body exercises as well. Afterwards you kind of want to take the same mantra with a period of cool down with a lighter workout and then maybe some light stretching and/or this is where some people can employ some other alternative methods such as massage therapy. Some people roll out their muscles with a roller, a foam roller. I think once you get into a rhythm you kind of find what works best for you and I think that is good

What about our diet? How does that play into things? Are there things that we should eat and drink to help boost our exercise routine?

We could probably spend the whole show talking about that but I would think that if you are talking about pre and post exercise diets. I remember when I was younger my dad would not let me eat before a soccer game because he thought that I would get cramps and some people still do think that but I think when people exercise in general they should have something in their stomach light that is not going to temp them to have hunger during their exercise. You should have something that has some carbohydrates for energy and some protein for sustainable   energy that is not digested as quickly as the carbohydrates prior to exercise. In post exercise it depends on the intensity of the workout and the duration of the workout. In general, I would follow the same guidelines after with a little heavier on the protein to rebuild any broken down muscles or other musculoskeletal structures that may need to be repaired after the workout. Other than that, following a balanced diet during your normal day and limiting those things that are high in carbohydrates or sugars is generally a good rule to live by and again gives you energy throughout the day.

Some people workout in the morning and some people like to do it in the evening after a hard day at the office. Is there an optimal time for exercising?

I used to say that the optimal time is in the morning. I personally like to workout in the morning to start off my day. There have been some studies and unfortunately the rate of heart issues for people who exercise in the morning versus in the afternoon indicated that it is a little higher for the people who exercise in the morning. However, it had no statistical significance so that was one of those studies that people talk about and say don’t workout in the morning. I would say that today with people and their busy lives and their busy schedules if they can find a pocket of time where it is comfortable for them and it works for them I think that is really the best way to go. Some people even workout during their lunch hour. I think as long as you get it in during the day the time of day is individually specific.

Now a lot of times, especially if we have not worked out in a while, we will go to that workout and exercise and we start feeling it. How can we tell the difference between muscle fatigue and injury?

I would say that if it is an injury you might find yourself in my office but hopefully not. Muscle fatigue generally will last 24 to 48 hours which is a good rule of thumb. Other things you look for in muscle fatigue versus an injury is if you have any bruising you notice on the skin. That’s just like if you dropped a weight on your fingers and stuff like that. If you notice any swelling around your joints or your knees, ankles, your shoulders or your feet those things are physiological responses to injured tissue and that is when you should seek advice from a medical professional. If you sort of like are feeling it 24 to 48 hours and it has not been any longer than that it may be fatigue. If you notice any of those signs or symptoms previously mentioned, then it could be related to an injury. 

Last but not least, we always hear that exercise if good obviously for the body and the heart and everything but have you found that it is kind of a preventative medication for other conditions as well?

In my personal life as well as in my practice and if you look across the spectrum of medicine whether its endocrinology and diabetes, which is a common problem in our society, or the cardiologists for heart disease there is no blanket statement that they all agree on in terms of duration or terms of frequency for exercise. What they do agree on is that a good life style includes a healthy diet as well as exercise and they would probably say three to five days a week of a bigger exercise certainly reduces the risk or complications from any kind of heart disease, diabetes, obesity or some of the main health care issues that face us in this country.

Again we want to remind folks that we have been chatting with Dr. Matthew Melander. He specializes in ACL reconstructions, surgery of the shoulder, the knee, the hip and treatment of sports related types of injuries. If you want to contact his office, it is St. Charles Orthopedic Surgery Associates and they are located at 636 561-0871. Dr. Melander thanks for joining us. I appreciate it.

Nice talking to you again. Have a nice day.

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