Getting thoroughly fit and building muscle involves intensive exercise – and intensive exercise inevitably leads to a couple of knocks and bumps. How you deal with workout knocksaffects how quickly you recover from these minor injuries and whether they will develop into more serious problems.
Common workout injuries
Most people spend their daily lives sedentary, working behind a desk,which means that very few of their muscle groups are exercised throughout the day. Back muscles can be particularlyunderworked, and it is common for gym goers to injure their backs due to muscle weakness. Likewise, poor posture can easily lead to shoulders that are prone to injury while exercising. Some forms of exercise are simply tough on the body: runner’s knee is the cause of many running injuries and develops due to the impact that running has on your knees.
It is also quite easy to injure your muscles, with hamstrings oftenharmed through a variety ofdifferent exercises. More serious workout injuries may also occur, often as the result of an accident. A bench press gone wrong can result in a chest-crunching bar causing a sternum fracture, while loading too much height can lead to a joint dislocation – a medical emergency that needs immediate treatment.
Dealing with workout knocks
Vigorous exercise always carries a risk of injury, but you can reduce the severity and speed up the healing process if this happens. Here are a few tips to help you get back on track:
1.Get the problem diagnosed. Unless you’re a trained medic, it is tough to judge whether a workout knock is serious problem or a minor injury. Typically, any pains or bruising that do not go away will require medical attention. Do not attempt any further intensive exercise until you’ve diagnosed the workout injury that you have.
2.As with any health issue, getting your diet right after a workout injury will boost the healing process. Pack your meals with nutrients and make sure that you get a lot of water throughout the day. Take it easy on sugar, alcohol and unhealthy foods. Depending on your injury, you might want to take a supplement – chondroitin and MSM can help you rebuild your joints.
3.Give compression clothing a try. More and more exercise fanatics are seeing the benefits of compression clothing, both in preventing injuries while working out and in helping injuries heal. Compression shorts, for example, can improve circulation and limit any buildup of lactic acid, which will help your muscles heal quicker.
4.Lighten your workout by training with lighter weights and higher repetitions. A mild muscle injury can take time to resolve, but sometimes, you can ease slowly back into exercising by going for less resistance but more repetitions. This allows you to maintain muscle strength without putting the muscle under too much strain while it is still healing.
5.Use either ice or heat to help healing. Ice is best just after an injury has happened and while the injured area is inflamed. On the other hand, heat is better for old and chronic injuries, as it helps with circulation and mobility. Heat can also relieve muscle tightnessand stiffness before workouts.
Preventing injury while exercising
There’s always the chance of injury with intensive exercise, but a correct and conscientious approach can minimize this risk. If you’re new to exercising, then it is particularly important to start training alongside an experienced staff member or friend who knows which postures and routines are safe. For example, warming up and cooling down are important elements of a workout program. By warming up before you start intensive training, you allow your muscles to loosen and gradually increase your heart rate – ride an exercise bike or jump rope to achieve this.
You should also pay attention to your body and note where you have trouble areas. Chronic conditions such as arthritis will impact the exercises that you can do andnecessitate that you slowly build strength. A philosophy of “no pain, no gain” can easily lead to injury – if you experience any pain while completing a routine, then re-think the workout and ask an expert for advice.
Resting is important too. You may be highly motivated to achieve peak fitness as soon as possible, but your body will need to rest and recover after days of intensive exercise. Schedule a one-day or two-day break in between your exercise days and vary your training over the week, placing emphasis on different areas of your body on different days.