4 Simple Tips to Avoid Exercise Injuries.

Posted: December 13, 2008 in exercise, health, physical therapy, sport, Sports Medicine, Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

By Sylvia Anderson, AHJ Editor — Published: December 11, 2008

Have you ever experienced an “exercise-induced injury”? A strained muscle or joint or conditions like tennis elbow or plantar fasciitis are just a few examples of injuries that can result from too much or improper exercise. So how can you avoid such injuries? And why are women more likely to experience some types of injuries than men? Keep reading for answers to those questions, as well as four simple tips to avoid potential injuries.

Women vs. Men
Anyone can suffer from an exercise-induced injury, but research shows that women are more likely to experience some types of injuries more than their male counterparts. Knee pain is one of those injuries.

So, why are women more likely to have knee injuries than men? Many health professionals point to high heels, because they shorten the calf muscles and place a lot of strain on the joints and ligaments surrounding the knees. Others point to the wider hips that women have, which increase the amount of strain on the lower half of the body. Additional culprits include the female tendency to overuse the quadriceps (front of the thigh muscles) and underuse the hamstrings (back of the thigh muscles), and research links higher estrogen levels to an increased risk in ligament injuries.

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Of course, women can’t change the way they are built, but they can reduce their risk of injury by exercising and playing sports the right way.

Regardless of whether you’re a male or a female, you can follow this advice to keep yourself healthy and strong.

1. Take it slow. If you haven’t exercised or played a sport regularly in while, don’t leap into an aggressive routine. Start out with one or two sessions a week, and listen to your body if you experience aches and pains. Gradually increase the time and intensity of your workouts as you feel comfortable.

2. Stretch it out. Improving your flexibility will keep your body in balance and allow you to recover more quickly from a challenging workout. If you’re a jogger, for example, stretching before and after a jog can reduce anterior knee pain which is caused by an imbalance of the muscles around the knee.

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3. Vary your routine. Resist the urge to stick with the exercises or sporting activities that you enjoy most and step outside of you comfort zone. This way, you’re more likely to use muscle groups that otherwise go neglected and you’ll keep your body in better balance. But if you’re a swimmer, for instance, and you can’t tear yourself away from the pool, avoid overusing one specific muscle by practicing a variety of strokes.

4. Replace your gear regularly. Common foot injuries like plantar fasciitis (pain on the inside of the heel) and inflammation of the heel pad can be avoided by wearing a pair of well-cushioned shoes so that you reduce the impact on your joints. A good pair of shoes also helps to support the foot arches and reduces risk of injuries. Replace your shoes every three to six months, or whenever the cushioning is visibly worn down (the golden rule for runners is every 300-500 miles).

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Don’t let your exercise routine – or your daily life – become interrupted by a preventable injury! By following these four tips you can avoid the pain, suffering and inconvenience of an exercise-induced injury.

Get Strong! Stay Strong! (and be safe!)
Chris

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