Spring break will finally begin feeling like spring today, with sunny skies and temperatures in the low eighties, and that means that many of us will get out and start participating in outdoor activities.


  But Dr. Eloy Ochoa, Jr, an orthopaedic surgeon at the San Antonio Orthopaedic Group, says not so fast.  He says it's been a long cold winter, and a lot of us have been huddling inside for the past five months.  So while the combination of nice weather (finally!) and sitting inside shivering for months can lead to lots of aches and pains if we go at it too quickly.


  "The simplest things that we usually see from inactivity for a long period of time are things like muscle strains, hamstring pulls, and tendonitis that occurs because you jump into a sport a little bit too quickly," he said.


  Dr. Ochoa says before you start running or before spring breakers at the coach break out the beach volleyball net, they should take some precautions to avoid having to reach for the Ben-Gay later, or worse.


  "Maybe jog a little bit, break a sweat, a couple of minutes to make your muscle nice and warm, and then you can go into some more aggressive stretches," he said.  "It is really important to do that before you go into any type of more aggressive sprinting activity."


  Dr. Ochoa says we all want to start exercising after such a long period cooped up for winter, but he says the worst problems can pop up after a couple of weeks of unprepared exercise.


  "Into your second or third week of training after coming off the couch is when you will start to begin to develop stress fractures," he said.


  He says he has heard from patients who are anxious to get outside and start preparing for the Rock and Roll Marathon and other summertime activities.  His advice...take it slow, and make sure you warm up first before starting to play that driveway basketball game.