Preventing Injuries is just as important as exercising itself. The ability to exercise and enjoy daily life and hobbies could be greatly effected and even inhabited by carrying an injury, especially if it is chronic. There are a few things to keep in mind that will help prevent you sustaining an injury.
a) Exercise Correctly: Don’t lift weights if you don’t have a qualified trainer present to ensure firstly you are doing the exercise correctly and secondly the weight is appropriate. If you want to incorporate weights into your exercise program, employ a certificated personal trainer that can prepare a personally designed program and then instruct your through the program ensuring you progress safely in weight. Lifting weights and / or moving through an exercise incorrectly will place pressure on certain joints, muscles and tendons- which can lead to an injury. It is vital that exercises are performed correctly, slowly and controlled. Fast and jerky movements can place pressure on locked out joints and tendons/ muscles turned quickly under weight can be strained. Soft joints while performing slow and controlled movements while using an appropriate weight will help prevent an injury.
b) Overtraining without Rest: Overtraining injuries are common among those who visit the gym six to seven days a week and /or participate in high intensity training once or twice a day for more than four days a week. This is due to several factors, one being the body just simply doesn’t have time to recover. Therefore stress hormones remain at an elevated level within in the blood. The body requires adequate recovery time to build muscle, to repair and to effectively gain cardiovascular benefits such as lowering of blood pressure. Otherwise, the body will eventually burnout. Sometimes, people will burnout both physically and mentally. Health and fitness is not a quick fix or a race, it is a long term investment in your health which results from a life long healthy lifestyle change. Overtraining fatigue leads to weakness, in-turn resulting in injuries. When you are planning your exercise classes/ PT sessions for the week, ensure you structure in rest days. Take care of your emotional/ mental self as well, mindset that just too tired, stressed and overtrained will burnout.
c) Overuse: Review the type of training you are doing. Overuse injuries can result from repetitive movements and training such as regular high impact exercises/ training on certain joints. Be mindful of the exercise sessions you are participating in and ask the trainer if they are suitable if you are unsure. A good trainer should be able to justify the program to you and why those exercises have been chosen.
d) Stretching: It always surprises me when new personal training clients begin with me and they tell that their previous trainer didn’t take them through warm ups/ stretches during their sessions. This leaves me speechless, it is a surefire way that someone will develop an injury. It is important to always warm up and cool down with stretches before/ after exercising this not only gets the blood pumping and prepares the body for work, it also helps to prevent injuries from occurring.
e) Sleep: This is also related to rest and recovery, the body requires adequate sleep to repair and function at its best. A lack of sleep can inhabit the body from repairing, add to that a combination of lack of rest days and overtraining and this will most certainly lead to burn out and/ injury.
Exercise should not be viewed as daunting and a chore, exercise is a celebration of the functionality of movement and the ability to enjoy complete mobility without discomfort and a full rich & active life.
Qualified Specialist Trainer
Free 2B Me Fitness: Boutique Studio 4 Women
Certificated in Remedial Pilates, Group Fitness Classes and Specialised programs in Pre/ Post Natal Care and Pelvic Floor Health.