Q&A Topic: What Does an Orthopedist Do to Stay Fit?

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Victor Khabie, MD, FAAOS, FACS at Life Time Athletic Chappaqua.

Between work, cooking dinner, and that Netflix show that has me hooked, how can I possibly find the time to work out?

Finding time means making time. My schedule is intense, but it’s essential to carve out time to exercise. Exercise helps us build the muscles we need to walk, run, and give the most epic piggyback rides to our littlest loved ones. There’s also a strong relationship between exercise and the length and quality of our lives. Working out not only lowers your risk for chronic diseases, it also increases your strength and flexibility, and keeps your joints healthy – lowering your risk for ankle, knee, hip, or shoulder pain down the road.

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So, what’s your workout routine?

I mix it up. The biggest mistake people make is doing the same thing over and over. This can lead to injuries from overusing a muscle. It can also lead to boredom, a big reason people quit the gym or give up exercise entirely. To stay motivated and avoid overuse injuries, go to a new gym, check out a new exercise class, use different equipment, or switch up your routine. I aim for a workout that includes cardio, weight training, and core strengthening. As long as my heart rate is up, I’m a little sweaty, my head is clear, and my mood is better than it was before I started, I know had a good workout.

What if I don’t belong to a gym?

No gym? No problem. There are many ways to get in some cardio without using an elliptical or treadmill. We’re fortunate to have many hills in Westchester. For a great cardio workout, try walking a trail with many hills at a brisk pace for 30 minutes to an hour. Trust me, you’ll feel the burn! Keep it interesting by exploring a new path or hiking trail.

I like to add 30 minutes of strength training to my workout. Not only does weight training maintain muscle mass, it also protects your bones and prevents osteoporosis. Try free weights or get some resistance bands and hop on YouTube. You’ll find thousands of videos demonstrating how to use these bands to perform chest presses, squats, and core exercises.

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How do you distinguish muscle pain from injury?

If you’ve ever tried a new workout, you may be familiar with the post-leg-day limp. However, if that pain is concentrated in a specific joint, such as your knees, and is accompanied by swelling, and continues or worsens after a day, this indicates a problem.

Use the following guidelines: No pain after a workout? Give yourself a green light to maintain your routine. Some pain after a workout? Consider that a yellow light, and make sure the pain is gone the next day before proceeding. Still experiencing pain after a few days? This is a red light. Take a break from your exercise program or modify it. For example, if you have knee pain, focus on upper body workouts instead. If pain persists despite these changes, speak to your doctor.

Learn More About Dr. Khabie
Co-Chief of Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
Co-Director, Orthopedic and Spine Institute
Director, Sports Medicine Section
Chief, Department of Surgery
Northern Westchester Hospital

Northern Westchester Hospital is a proud member of Northwell Health.

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Read Past Topics from Dr. Khabie:
Robot-Assisted Partial Knee Replacement
Sports-Related Knee Injuries
Shoulder Pain — When to Seek Help
Treating Osteoarthritis without Surgery
Common Questions Regarding Knee Replacement 
Parents: Save Your Daughter from Injury Down the Line with a Joint-Friendly Fitness Plan
Parents: Advice for MMA Beginners

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