With the emerging trends of CrossFit, obstacle course challenges, high
intensity interval training (HIIT), plyometric and other high impact workouts.
Orthopedic specialist have seen an increase in exercise related injuries
among younger adults and baby boomers. According to a study published
in the Orthopedic Journal of Sports Medicine, 19.4% of CrossFit participants
suffered an injury within six months with the most common injury locations
in the shoulder, lower back and knee.
To learn how to work out pain- and injury-free, follow these eight joint-saving tips.
Never skip on your warm up. Cold, stiff muscles can lead into injuries.
Remind yourself that your warm up is a necessary to prepare your body
for what is to come. A good warm up will get your blood flowing, and increase
the length and elasticity of your muscle fibers, which allows you to perform
better and protect your body from injury.
Ease Into It
A common cause of injury is doing too much, too soon. Gradually increase
your workout intensity. Start off with a low impact workout like walking,
cycling, swimming, and work your way up to a high impact exercise like
running and plyometric. This will ensure your body builds the strength
and endurance to handle the impact. If you are coming back from an injury,
illness or on certain medication, see you doctor to receive a clean bill
Focus on Form
Bad form is the easiest ways to hurt yourself. Adding weight to movements
forces your body to work harder to stay in alignment and you will want
to cheat to make the movement easier. Hunching your shoulders, heaving
weights, arching the back, or using momentum puts your body at risk. Plus,
it makes the exercises less effective. Make sure to learn good technique.
Listen to Your Body
Check your ego at the door. Avoid being overzealous and know when it is
time to stop a certain movement -- it can mean the difference between
major performance improvement and a dislocated joint or other injury.
Know When to Rest
Your body makes most of its progress during your rest days. During rest
days your body repairs and heals after tough workouts. If you do not allow
your body to rest, you risk of overtraining that can lead to injuries.
If you feel exhausted or very fatigue, feel a sharp pain in your joints
or muscles (not soreness), feel dizzy or lightheaded, take these as red
flags that you are pushing your body to its limit, which can result in injury.
If you are already injured a joint, ligament, tendon or muscle, a protective
brace can help reduce inflammation in that area. Make sure to check in
with your doctor to make certain you can begin working out again.
Stretching, whether it is dynamic or static, maintains range of motion
around your joints. When you stretch make certain you do it after your
warm up or even better, after your workout when your muscles are warm
and you are ready to relax. Incorporating a yoga class between your high
intensity workout outs can improve your performance and increase your
Avoid Weekend Warrior Syndrome
For many people the weekend is the only time they have to exercise. Spending
all day hiking, going on long bike rides, signing up for Spartan or Tough
Mudder race can cause unexpected overload injuries. Remember to ease into
any high intensity workout and prepare ahead of time to give your body
a strong foundation to help you avoid getting hurt.