During exercise, it’s easy to get caught up in the moment and ignore any pains or discomfort you may be feeling. Although exercise is an important part of staying fit and healthy, preventing injury is just as important. Before you get back into it, try to avoid these common mistakes:
Lifting Weights Greater Than Your Strength
Often people return to exercise too quickly, overtrain, and have inadequate rest and recovery between training sessions. Be sure you have the physical strength to lift weights with the proper posture, form, and technique.
Start exercise without weight and include simple full-body activities such as squats, planks, step-ups, push-ups, chair dips, and balance activities. Begin by using light weights and high repetitions to build a baseline of strength then gradually increase the weight and decrease the repetitions.
Incorporate exercise into your everyday life like parking further away from the door, taking the stairs, and walking to the water cooler once an hour to get a glass of water.
“No Pain No Gain”
There is a difference between muscle fatigue and pain. Muscle fatigue is a transient feeling of discomfort accompanied by a loss of inability to maintain exercise intensity. Joint pain is isolated to a specific spot and is reproducible. Muscle tears or joint pain would increase if stress or stretch were added to the irritated structure, muscle fatigue is typically relieved by exercise and stretching.
Remember to give your body rests between intense exercise sessions, alternate days for different body parts.
Poor Nutrition and Dehydration
Poor nutrition and dehydration can lead to injuries. Remember the food you eat fuels your muscles. Avoid processed foods and sugars, remember to eat a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, proteins, and healthy fats.
Poor-fitting shoes and or broken down footwear can lead to foot, knee, hip, and back pain. Get advice from a local running store if you plan on returning to running. Remember running shoes are designed for running but weight training and other aerobic exercise have different demands on the body. Consider having a few different types of shoes for exercise to include cross-training shoes and shoes specific for weight training.
If you are looking to start an exercise program, come and get a free screening from one of our providers to make sure you are prepared for your new goals. If you’re experiencing any pain or discomfort during exercise, a screening would also be warranted.
Ian Goodwin, PTA