Exercise injuries can be as frustrating as they are common – just when you’ve got momentum going on a new routine, suddenly you’re stuck without training for weeks, and it can feel like you’re back at square one.
Common exercise injuries include muscle strains and sprains, knee pain, shin splints, tendonitis and rotator cuff inflammation. They tend to happen when a movement is performed too quickly, with improper form, or before your muscles have been warmed up.
Here at Guy Gold’s, our Osteopathy and Physiotherapy team believe that prevention is better than cure, and making some simple adjustments to your exercise routine can help you to avoid injury and keep doing what you love.
Here are our tips for preventing exercise injuries:
1. Warm up and cool down
Jumping straight into a workout can be a shock to the system, causing cold muscles to quickly contract. A warmup increases your body temperature, blood flow to your muscles, and lubricates joints.
Taking time to cool down after a workout is equally important. Suddenly stopping exercise can cause blood pressure to drop, leaving you feeling lightheaded or dizzy, and more likely to lose your balance. A cool down keeps blood flowing throughout the body and allows your heart rate to gradually return to normal.
2. Wear appropriate footwear
Physiotherapists in our Camden clinic regularly see clients with ankle and knee injuries caused by improper footwear. Particularly when doing dynamic exercises or lifting weights, shoes with arch support and sufficient cushioning will help to protect your joints from unnecessary strain.
Stretching post-exercise helps tense, contracted muscles release back into a relaxed state. This increased muscle elasticity improves your range of motion and flexibility, making you less likely to injure yourself in your next workout.
4. Take time to rest
Don’t push through pain during exercise and allow sufficient recovery time between sessions. One of the most effective ways to avoid injury is by learning to listen to your body, and taking note when it’s sending messages through twinges or tiredness.
It’s normal to experience muscle soreness 24-48 hours after a workout, but if pain persists past this point, it’s time to make an appointment with a Physiotherapist.
5. Avoid overuse
While you may be focusing on a particular muscle group or have one activity you especially enjoy, try to vary your workouts and activities so that the same muscle groups aren’t being trained consecutively. This can lead to repetitive-strain injuries like shin splints and tendonitis.
Remember, the body operates as a whole, and you’ll keep yours working at its best when you give all areas equal attention.
7. Start slow
When you find a new exercise you love, or you’re working towards a specific goal such as increased strength or weight loss, it’s easy to throw yourself into your new routine with full speed ahead.
Instead, start slow with your exercises and build up a solid foundation. Not only do your muscles need to build up strength to support you without putting excessive strain on your joints, but your brain needs to catalogue the movements as you learn proper form. This is crucial to avoiding injury.
Although it may not feel like it, exercise injuries can be a valuable reminder to move your body with attention and intention. Our experienced team of Physiotherapists can help you to find proper form in your movements, and identity areas of weakness in your body that might be susceptible to injury. They’ll work with you to keep you moving safely for longer. Book an appointment with one of our clinical team here.