How to prevent injuries while being physically active?
As some of you may already know, Dr. Dave works out 1-2 times a day, once before work and again after work. We often have patients asking him “How do you prevent yourself from getting injured?” As you might have heard muscular injury is one of the major problems facing today’s athletes, both recreational and professional. As a result, it is imperative to utilize the most effective means to aid in deterring these injuries.
How does Dr. Dave prevent muscular injuries, whether it is acute or chronic is a frequently asked question in our office. Here is his response:
1. Always Start with a Warm-Up Protocol
A warm-up and stretching protocol should be implemented prior to physical activity. This could include brisk walking, active range of motion movements or even moving through the exercises planned for that day’s workout at a lower intensity. The routine should allow the warm-up protocol to occur within the 15 minutes immediately prior to the activity to receive the most benefit. There are multiple benefits in warming-up before being physically active including; decreased muscle stiffness, increasing circulation and blood flow, improved performance and mental preparation.
*For example: If you are a Tennis player, warm-up by practicing with a gentle swinging motion. If you are a Runner, warm-up with a slow jog or brisk walk.
2. Be Careful of Over Training
Overtraining is a concern with any activity, be it walking, running, swimming, or the plethora of other choices available to exercisers. The first step in avoiding overtraining is to choose your activity wisely to ensure it’s a good fit.
*For example: if you have many lower-leg problems, knee pain, or a history of back pain, a non-weight-bearing activity such as swimming may be a better choice than running.
3. Start Slowly (Especially Beginners)
The second step in avoiding overtraining is to make sure you start slowly, with a day of rest between each exercise bout, and progress either by increasing the time of each exercise session or by adding a day of activity per week.
4. Make Sure to Cross Train
For people who like variety, choosing different activities, often called cross training, is a good option. Choose a weight-bearing and a non-weight-bearing activity and alternate workouts. Regardless of the activity, be sure to use proper technique, particularly in technique-intense sports such as speed walking or swimming, and always get instruction if needed.
*For Example: Dr. Dave’s workouts include rotating between swimming, biking, running and lifting weights, each day is different.
5. Always Finish with Stretching
Stretching opens up your range of motion and increases flexibility; not stretching drastically reduces mobility in the joints and muscles, which increases your risk for injury—especially for runners, who constantly place stress on the muscles.
Imagine a rubber band that just sits on your desk unused. The minute you go to try and extend that band it almost always snaps in half. Our muscles are comparable to a rubber band, the more you use the rubber band the more flexible and stronger the band remains.
Every muscle is connected. Not stretching will only increase tightness in the body, allowing muscles to pull on joints, causing major pain. It doesn’t need to take a lot of time to stretch. After every workout, give yourself 5 to 10 minutes to cool down and open your muscles. Make sure you do not bounce when stretching. Bouncing while stretching may tear muscles—which can lead to scar tissue, tight muscles, decreased flexibility and increased soreness. When you stretch, hold each stretch for 20 to 60 seconds and repeat three times. Last but not least don’t forget to breathe, slow controlled deep breathing will allow blood flow and circulation to
**Ask one of our doctors about warm-up suggestions before you begin an exercise regimen to make sure it is right for you.
Dave Menner, DC, CCSP®
Katelyn Adamek, LMT, CWC
Eat Well. Move Well. Live Well.