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Be Wise When You Exercise

By Aarti Patel Email By Aarti Patel
March 2017
Be Wise When You Exercise

 

Injuries during workouts happen when least expected. What are the top reasons for accidents when we exercise, and what can we do to avoid them or minimize the risk?

Not warming up adequately. Instead of getting on the treadmill and starting to run, devote 5-10 minutes for warming up. Warm up by doing the same activity at a lower pace. So for example, walk for a few minutes before the run, or complete a set of strength-training exercises with a lighter weight and then increase the intensity. Adding stretching exercises can increase flexibility and maintain mobility around the joints which can lessen the chance of an injury.

Exercising with poor form. This is especially important when weight training. By using the proper form and technique, one can reduce the chance of injury. Either consult with a fitness professional to learn the proper mechanics of strength training and how to use the correct form, or exercise under the supervision of a personal trainer to avoid injury.

Not allowing enough recovery/rest time. Just as regular exercise is important for our bodies, so is rest, recovery, and downtime. Being sore and tired is the body’s way of signaling that rest is needed. Pushing yourself when you’re extremely tired can set you up for an injury. Allow yourself active recovery time in which walking, leisurely bike rides, playing outside with the kids, and other mild activities are continued but not anything too strenuous. Regular sleep is important as well, as this is when muscles recover and rebuild. Aim for 8-9 hours every night.

Not cross-training. We all have our favorite activities or exercise class that we love doing. However, always performing the same type of exercise can set you up for injury as certain muscles tend to get overused while other muscles get weaker in comparison. So if you always do yoga, add strength training to your workouts. If you’re always running, add weight bearing exercises and yoga for flexibility. Cross training not only creates balance, therefore preventing overuse injuries, but also keeps workouts exciting and challenging.

Not wearing proper shoes. With hundreds of different brands and styles to choose from, picking the right pair of shoes can get confusing, but it doesn’t have to be. In order to pick the right shoe, it’s important to first determine if you are an underpronator, overpronator, or neutral with your foot stance. A specialty running shoes store can help with this. Knowing where added cushioning is needed in your shoes can prevent knee/ankle injury and pain in the long run!

Exercising through an existing injury or pain. If you’re dealing with an injury or pain, allow adequate time to recover before you resume your workout. Often, exercising with an injury leads to more injury or chronic pain. However, depending on the severity of the injury and which body part is injured, there may be ways to work around it. For example, if you are dealing with a shoulder injury, you can still go for a walk or slight jog, maybe even ride a bike leisurely. For lower body/ankle/knee injuries, an upper body strength-training workout may be performed.

Not getting adequate nutrition. Keeping your body well hydrated and eating nutritious meals is a must to keep the body in optimal condition for exercise and to prevent injury. Protein is important for rebuilding and repairing damaged muscle fibers. To avoid feeling fatigued and to maintain regular blood sugar levels during the workout, eat a small snack 2-3 hours before exercise, and be sure to fuel your body with a carbohydrate and protein meal after a strenuous workout.


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Aarti Patel serves as the columnist for Fitness Lifestyle. She has a B.Sc. in Health Information Administration and is certified by the American Council on Exercise as a Personal and Group Fitness Instructor, and Lifestyle and Weight Management Coach. She can be reached at (404)-376-5655; info@aartifitness.com.

This column rotates monthly along with the Ask the Doctor column by Gulshan Harjee, M.D.



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