One of the biggest issues people have when trying to reach a health and fitness goal is common recurring injuries that stop their progress. Injuries can be serious and can change peoples lives forever, so learning to deal with those injuries is a very important step in their fitness journey.
These injuries can come in all shapes and sizes, from small strains in a muscle to a slipped disc in your back. It is safe to say that none of these injuries are something anyone wants. Some reasons for injuries are pre-existing injuries, poor baseline conditioning, poor movement quality, bad technique, too much weight, or ignoring warning signs. Many people carry pre-existing injuries with them on their journey from college or high school sports, work injuries or from some sort of accident. Not only can these injuries flare up again, but they can lead to new injuries. Commonly, this is because there is compensation for the old injury which causes pressure and unnatural movements patterns on a different part of the body leading to a new injury. This is poor movement control.
Starting this journey with poor baseline conditioning can lead to new or old injuries. Diving headfirst into the deep end and working out as hard as possible right away can lead to problems. You don’t need to be fit to start a fitness journey but starting out slow if you are is the way to go. Common injuries occur when bad form and excessive loads are combined without the correct form. It won’t be long before you are injured. Ignoring the warning signs will also lead to injuries. Pain in irregular places may occur from a good workout but severe pain in muscles or joints may be a sign of an injury. Once you have diagnosed the injury, the next step is the recovery process and an insufficient recovery will be shown once the injury rears its head again.
Once you have been seen by a doctor or have diagnosed your injury, you can go a couple of ways to start out your recovery process. The first step depending on the seriousness of the injury is to rest and recover. While resting, implementing R.I.C.E.(Rest, Ice, Compact, Elevate) can help to make sure any swelling goes down, and the injury is on the right road to recovery. From there, you can begin exercises prescribed to you from a physical therapist or a personal trainer to help build strength and stability with the injury. This can be a slow process and you may feel ready to get back to normal workouts but your safety is the most important thing and continuing these exercises will help build strength. Once cleared by the doctor to return to regular training, then begin ramping the intensity of the training in a slow manner.
Once you are back in the swing of things, make sure you’re doing everything you can to prevent the return of the injury. Injury prevention can come in many different ways. Preventive and proactive action is important because you don’t want to regress and return back to square one. Proper preventive action starts out with foam rolling, one of the most overlooked parts of muscle stimulation or activation. Foam rolling activates your muscles before you start your warm-up and move into your workout. A dynamic warm-up is key to injury prevention. As you get older and are moving through the stages of your life, you begin to see the importance of a good warm-up. This is the next stage of activating your muscle before you start your workout. One of the major keys to maintaining strength in the injured muscle is to regularly complete specific exercises for the injury to keep it strong and not be overlooked.