Summer is the perfect season to get back into exercise. The extra hours of sunlight and time spent outside may enliven you to start exercising or try a new form of exercise, or even increase the duration or intensity of your current exercise routine. Even though these changes to your normal routine may seem innocuous, training injuries occur when your body is unable to handle the sudden increased load. The last thing you want to do is experience a training injury in the middle of summer with a multitude of outdoor activities. Here are five tips to prevent training injuries for when you are thinking about getting back into exercise or changing your exercise routine substantially and abruptly.
- Remember to Warm-up and Cool-down: This tip is as old as time itself. In the back of our minds, we all know we should warm up prior to exercising and then incorporate a cool-down for after. However, implementing this strategy every time we work out is much more difficult. Our lives are busy, especially during the summer, so if we are short on time often the warm-up and cool-down is the first thing to go. Yet, this tip is very important for preventing injuries. Research has shown that a warm muscle is more pliable and less likely to be strained or torn.1,2 Warming up allows us to slowly increase our heart and blood flow to muscles which decreases the likelihood of injury during exercise.3 All you need to remember is 5-10 minutes of walking or jogging prior to exercise for a warm-up and 5-10 minutes of dynamic stretches after exercise for a cool-down.1,2,3 Make sure to incorporate this time into your plan, so there is no need to cut it out.
- Pick Out One (or even Two) Pair of Shoes That Are Right for You: Finding the correct equipment is essential when it comes to preventing injuries and this includes shoes. In general, the best shoes to prevent injury are the shoes that are most comfortable for you. Some items to consider when picking out shoes is the level of cushion, arch support, and weight of the shoes. Lighter shoes are generally more comfortable than heavier shoes. Once you find a comfortable pair of shoes, it may be a good idea to buy a similar pair of shoes to rotate out every so often. Having the right equipment is key!
- Find a Variety of Workouts: Cross-training is a great way to prevent injury as well as improve the quality of your workouts. Overuse injuries could result from us performing the same exercises over and over.2 Occasionally changing up the exercises will allow you to engage different muscles and prevent overuse of one muscle.2
- Do Not Forget to Rest: If your body is telling you to rest, then it may be time to listen. In general, experiencing pain or soreness during your warm-up or the first few minutes of exercise may be a way of your body telling you to stop or decrease your load. However, pain and soreness up to 24-48 hours after your workout is completely normal and is a sign of your body recuperating and rebuilding muscle. If the pain and soreness feel more than usual, try taking a rest day. 1 Make sure to build in 1 rest day for every 3 to 5 consecutive days of training.1 If you are experiencing pain with certain movements or pain is preventing you from performing activities that you enjoy, Live Your Life physical therapists would be happy to help! Contact us for a free consultation.
- Gradually Build: When it comes to progressing your workout, make sure you are not increasing the load too much too quickly. The perfect recipe for a training injury is walking or running too many miles or lifting too much weight before you are ready. The general guidance for progressing is a 5% increase when the exercise is becoming too easy.3
Whether you are getting back to exercise or thinking about increasing the intensity of your workout implement these five tips to put yourself in the best position to succeed and reduce your risk of developing a training injury. If you are looking for experts to help you with your exercise routine or in need of rehabilitation for a training injury, Live Your Life personal trainers and physical therapists are here to help. Contact us for a free consultation today!
15 Tips for Preventing Sports-Related Injuries. Published 2019. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/sports-injuries/5-tips-for-preventing-sports-related-injuries
29 Tips for Avoiding Injuries While Exercising: Maryland Orthopedic Specialists: Orthopedic Surgeons. www.mdorthospecialists.com. https://www.mdorthospecialists.com/blog/9-tips-for-avoiding-injuries-while-exercising
3Biron A. 7 Guidelines for Injury Prevention | Orthopedics & Sports Medicine. UCONN Health. Published February 28, 2018. https://health.uconn.edu/orthopedics-sports-medicine/2018/02/28/7-guidelines-for-injury-prevention/