Exercise is an important part of any healthy lifestyle but injuries can and do happen. A fitness-related injury can be minor, leaving you sore and achy, or it can be major, affecting your ability to perform exercise and other tasks. Understanding what the most common injuries are will help you to minimize their effects, even avoid them completely.
The back is most vulnerable part of the body when it comes to exercise injuries. Sedentary lifestyles, both at work and at home, result in back muscles being weak and at-risk of injury, especially during exercise that involves lifting weights. Preventing strain injuries in the back means avoiding exercise that is too fast or too difficult when the muscles are weak. Use the legs to lift instead of the back muscles, use low intensity exercises to build up the muscles’ strength. If the back is strained, keep exercising but modify the exercises so as not to overtax the injury. Working with a chiropractor, such as Dr. Sol Cogan, can also help improve circulation to the injured area, speeding the healing.
The shoulder joints are very susceptible to injury. Their wide range of motion makes them vulnerable to overuse injuries, as well as the effects of exercises performed incorrectly. Avoiding shoulder strains begins by strengthening the shoulders. Resistance training involving an elastic tube works well, but wall push-ups and shoulder presses are also excellent ways to strengthen the shoulder muscles and improve the joints’ resilience.
Also known as patellofemoral pain syndrome or anterior knee pain, “runner’s knee” makes up nearly 40% of all running-related injuries, though any exercise that involves a lot of knee bending can cause it. Runner’s knee isn’t always the result of injury, either; overuse, misalignment of the bones, foot problems and weak or imbalanced musculature can also cause runner’s knee. The best way to avoid this kind of injury is to strengthen the leg muscles, specifically the glute, hip and quad muscles, which will help to support the knee and prevent the overstress that causes runner’s knee.
The Achilles tendon is a band of tissue that connects the heel bone to the calf muscles along the back of the leg. When the tendon is overused and overstressed, it can result in an injury called Achilles tendinitis. Achilles tendinitis is the most commonly seen injury in people who suddenly increase the intensity or duration of their workouts. The best way to avoid the injury is to change workouts gradually, giving the tendons time to adapt to the increase in intensity or time.
Three hamstring muscles run down the back of the thigh, helping the leg extend and the knee to bend. Injuries to these muscles are often the result of high intensity running or sprinting, and occur most often in sports that require those sudden bursts of speed. Hamstring injuries are strains that range from mild to severe tears. Stretching exercises are the best preventative measure for hamstring injuries.
Injuries are always a risk when exercising. Stretching properly before beginning, increasing workouts slowly, and keeping the supporting muscles strong will help prevent many fitness injuries from occurring.