Our “Being Physical” guy Bruce, reminds us how to avoid injuries now that Spring (is supposed to be) upon us.
Spring has arrived. All those New Year’s resolutions — shelved because of the cold, rain, snow, and procrastination — can’t be put off any longer. The weight loss and firming up: running, biking, elliptical trainer, spinning class, power yoga (an oxymoron), and all other forms of exercise are on the immediate horizon. You’re now going to make up for a year of THINKING about exercising instead of DOING it, and you’re going to do as much as you can as fast as you can to “catch up”.
BE VERY CAREFUL! It is very, very easy to get injured within the first month of getting back into an exercise routine.
Although just about everybody knows this, it doesn’t seem to stop you from doing it. The bulk of the the sports injuries I treat are a result of the person doing too much too fast.
Just as the brain can take in so much information before it’s on overload, the body reacts in the same way but with more disastrous results. Pulled or torn muscles i.e. rotator cuff injuries (the five muscles of the upper arm and shoulder that help move the arm in various directions and hamstring) and back of upper leg injuries are the most common and often lead to your not working out for up to a year or more.
Tendonitis — inflammation of the place where the muscles attach to the bones (wrist, shoulder, elbow, knees, and ankles) — can also be debilitating as well and is common among those who are beginning to workout again. Even seasoned athletes are not immune from the urge to make-up for lost time or to go a little further when they’re feeling great.
HOW YOU CAN KEEP FROM GETTING INJURED WHEN STARTING TO EXERCISE AGAIN.
1. When starting back NEVER work out more than every other day. Be nice to your muscles — they want to get stronger slowly and need time between workouts to take in and assimilate all the information that you are putting in. They like rest.
2. For the first month to six weeks build up the amount of time running or on some other exercise equipment by no more than 10% a week. If you are running 15 minutes every other day to start, go up to app. 16 minutes the next week and come back down to what you were doing the week before if you are getting tired or sore. Monitor the warning signs and be conservative. You’ll get to the fitness level you want but you will not get anywhere if injured.
3. Be consistent. Consistency is what gets you into shape. Try to get on a schedule that’s comfortable for you and try to stay there. Working out three days one week, one day for two weeks and four times another week can also lead to injury. There is always time to work out even if it is running in place in your house using 16 oz. cans of Campbell’s Minestrone Soup for weights. (I’ve done this when out of town on numerous occasions — gallon jugs of detergent work very well — push ups are easy — you just need some floor the size of your body.) If you do not have time to exercise thirty minutes three days a week you are doing something wrong.
4. Work on staying on the exercise machine longer as opposed to upping the intensity. It’s unnecessary to work out at a greater intensity during the first six weeks back. Doubling your exercise regimen or increasing intensity, incline of treadmill etc. on a day when you are feeling great, will have you putting ice on your knees or shoulders for a month. The same holds true for weights. Adding a lot of weight to your workout will cause back, elbow and shoulder injuries. Do NOT sprint at the end of your run or workout to “blow it out”. This is the most common cause of torn and pulled hamstrings.
5. Stretch-Stretch-Stretch. If you feel an injury coming on– ice-ice-ice.
Good luck with your workouts. If you are careful, consistent and smart and are willing to go slowly you can get up to the level and shape you want to be in injury free.
TRAINING FOR A RACE?
I coach beginning runners. If you’d like to get some free advice on how train for your first race (marathon included) and remain injury free give a call at 212-769-4295 or contact me via email@example.com.