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3 tips to deal with exercise injuries at home

by Julia Curley / / Source: TODAY

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Summer is here — finally! And for a lot of people that means back to the gym, or back to running or biking outdoors. Any form of exercise is great, though it's important to note that if you haven't worked out in a while, you may be more susceptible to injuries.

Dr. Jordan Metzl, a sports medicine physician at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City, stopped by TODAY to lend some advice so we can all stay healthy and happy during our fitness routines. Metzl created the Ironstrength workout which teaches students how to improve workout performance and prevent injuries.

Here are a few of Metzl's key tips to exercise without overdoing it or causing harm to the more injury-prone parts of the body. Though remember, if an exercise injury feels painful rather than sore, it’s best to see a doctor!

1. Knees

The knee is one of the largest and most complex joints in the body. These complexities make the knee a common area for arthritis, sprained ligaments, meniscus tears and tendinitis. Whatever its medical name, swelling and stiffness in the knee joint can ruin summer fun.

This is a great foam-roller exercise to target knee pain.
This is a great foam-roller exercise to target knee pain.TODAY

Foam rolling can help to provide some relief. The knee feels better when it works better. Foam rolling across the quads and hamstrings improves muscle flexibility. This loosens the joint and relieves pain.

Strength training takes some pressure off the knee. Fire up the quads and glutes with squats. This exercise builds strong muscles that can carry the knees without strain.

Mastering a simple squat can help to strengthen the muscles around your knees.
Mastering a simple squat can help to strengthen the muscles around your knees.TODAY

2. Back

The spine's many joints, muscles, disks and nerves come together in the back to form a popular spot for spasms and aches. Luckily, the back is especially responsive to at-home care.

A foam roller can do wonders for back pain.
A foam roller can do wonders for back pain.TODAY

Place the foam roller under your back on the ground and roll it along the length of your spine. Muscle tension loosens as the roller moves.

Strengthening the core takes the strain off the back. Often poor posture causes back pain. A strong core, built through abdominal workouts and isometric holds, makes sitting up straight more comfortable and doubly prevents back aches.

3. Shoulders

The shoulder is a ball and socket joint with the biggest range of motion of any joint in the body. The shoulder's extreme mobility makes it vulnerable to all sorts of twinges and aches. But for every easy injury there's an equally simple prevention.

This band is a great tool to stretch your shoulders.
This band is a great tool to stretch your shoulders.TODAY

Lie flat on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground. Roll the foam roller along your shoulder blades and loosen up all of that tension.

Strengthen your shoulders by pressing against a resistance band. Stand on the band and raise your arms outward against the pressure to slightly above parallel. Build up strength and lose the ache.

Summer is the perfect season to go outside and get active. By adding these simple exercises to your workout you can stay on track and keep soreness at bay.

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