It never fails over the next few months we will get people coming into our physical therapy office that have strained or injured themselves. They will have done this by starting off with their news year’s resolution of exercising more but have gone too hard, too quickly. Typically some people give it their all when they start and end up hurting them selves.
Tips for Injury Prevention in the New Year
Common injuries include:
- Pulled or strained muscles
- Shin slints
- Plantar fasciitis
- Tendonitis of shoulders or knees
- Knee injury
- Wrist sprains
- Sprained ankles
- Low back or neck pain
Tips to prevent the common injuries:
- Have a physical with doctor or a fitness test: Make sure you are healthy enough for exercise and what is the level you should be starting.
- See personal trainer or therapist to learn proper mechanics and form of exercises.
- Increase gradually time, intensity and resistance: Many people go too hard, too soon. Begin with a moderate exercise 3x per week for 20 minutes and build upon it.
- Warm up before exercise: Gradual slow active warm up of the muscles is best. Walking or simply moving body parts to warm up each area before resistance or more intense aerobic exercises.
- Cool down and stretch: Take the time to slow down your work out for 5-10 minutes at the end of more intense program. Stretch at the end of the program once your muscles have been warmed up.
- Listen to your body: you should not be experiencing sharp pain. No pain, no gain is not necessarily true. You may get muscle soreness following a workout but you should not experience pain during it.
- Cross train: doing a variety of exercises decreases boredom but it also decreases the chance of overtraining or stressing one area of the body.
- Set realistic goals: Be patient and consistent. Track workouts and goals on a regular basis to see progress and allow you to adjust or make changes along the way.
- Nutrition is important: It is best to eat about 2 hours before a workout help fuel your exercise routine. Asses your eating habits to help you feel better during the routine.
- Hydration is key: Dehydration can make you sluggish and loose intensity during a routine. Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day but at least drink 16 oz in the two hours before a workout and take in water during to replenish lost fluids.
Injuries can happen, no matter how careful you are. If you develop a workout injury, follow the RICE method to keep your injury from getting worse:
- R: Rest the injury.
- I: Ice the injury to lessen swelling, bleeding, and inflammation.
- C: Apply a compression bandage to minimize swelling.
- E: Elevate the injury to reduce swelling.
If you continue to have issues that prevent you from continuing your routine or limit your daily activities, consult with a physical therapist or physician so that you can get back as quickly as possible to your goals.