How to prevent common exercise related injuries
You know you need to get more exercise. You’ve heard 30 to 60 minutes per day is a good rule of thumb. But before you embark on a new daily exercise routine, you’ll need to make sure you’re prepared. Otherwise, you could end up in a world of hurt and pain.
The Most Common Exercise Injuries
The irony of exercise is that, while it’s good for you, it can also negatively impact your physical health if you don’t go about it in a smart manner. Here are some of the most common exercise injuries doctors and physical therapists see on a daily basis:
- Strained back. Many people have weak back muscles and don’t even realize it. These muscles have lost their strength over time as a result of too much sitting and sedentary behavior. This makes them highly susceptible to back strains when there’s a sudden increase in physical activity and exercise.
- Strained shoulder. The human shoulder joint has very limited range of motion. This makes people very susceptible to shoulder injuries when lifting weights and/or performing exercises above the neck region. Shoulder dislocations and damaged rotator cuffs are common yet detrimental.
- Runner’s knee. As the name suggests, this is something that regular runners are more likely to experience as they age. It’s essentially irritation of the cartilage beneath the kneecap. Once it occurs, there’s really no choice but to rest. It can, however, be prevented with proper strength training in other areas of the body (like the quad, hip, and glute muscles).
- Plantar fasciitis. This is another injury that’s often seen in runners. It occurs when the connective tissue that supports the arch of the foot becomes inflamed. Plantar fasciitis can also cause pain the shin area. The pain starts gradually and often affects both feet.
5 Tips for Preventing Exercise-Induced Injuries
While injuries are often totally outside of your control, there are certain reasonable steps you can take to prevent exercise-induced injuries from sidelining you. Take a look:
Don’t Ignore Injuries
The problem most people experience is a lack of intentionality. They feel a twinge of pain, some soreness, or minor discomfort and they attempt to push through. This only worsens the problem and eventually turns a minor issue into a major setback.
The moral of the story is to listen to your body and to never “fight through” pain. You aren’t going for Olympic gold here – you’re trying to stay active. A serious injury won’t help you stay active.
Adopt Proper Exercise Routines
Be smart about how you exercise. Don’t just make it up as you go. Listen to someone who knows what they’re talking about. Whether it’s weight lifting, running, or playing pickleball, the right techniques will significantly reduce your risk of injury.
Use the Right Attire and Equipment
Know your past injury history and/or risk of developing a future injury and be intentional with the attire you wear and the equipment you use.
Let’s say, for example, that you suffer from plantar fasciitis. In addition to resting icing, and performing the proper stretches, you need to use products that treat plantar fasciitis. This will keep you healthier and lessen your chances of being impacted in the future.
Ensure Proper Diet and Nutrition
What are you using to fuel your body? The proper diet and nutrition – combined with adequate hydration – will allow your body to operate at peak levels of performance. It also encourages faster recovery.
Get Plenty of Rest
If you’re an ambitious go-getter who can’t sit still, the idea of rest seems counterintuitive to your goals. However, few things are as important in an exercise regimen than downtime.
Rest allows your body to recuperate. It’s also necessary for re-growing torn muscle fibers and boosting your strength. Again, it’s important to listen to your body!
Stay Active and Healthy
You need to exercise in order to stay healthy, but by exercising you may increase your chances of experiencing an injury. It’s sort of a catch-22, right?
Well, it doesn’t have to be.
If you’re smart about how you approach personal fitness, and make intelligent lifestyle choices before and after you exercise, you’re much more likely to reap the rewards of exercise without succumbing to the risks. Be smart and stay active!