If you missed our first post, be sure to check out what to do before beginning a new exercise program. In this post, we are going to focus on what to do to stay injury-free now that you’ve begun. Remember, the goal should be on health for the long-term. Quick fixes don’t last, here are some things to focus on instead:
1. Focus on recovery and general movement outside of the gym
Long-term success goes beyond the exercises you are doing while you were at the gym. Overall, this makes up a small percentage of your total time throughout the week. Stay on top of your recovery, nutrition, and sleep in between sessions to maximize health and performance. Limit your time spent sedentary and get out and get moving in between your workouts.
2. Progress appropriately
Think quality over quantity. Master each movement before moving on to a more challenging progression. This will ensure that you’re using your own muscles and mobility to accomplish the exercise, and not relying on your gravity and joints. It is way too common for people to progress too quickly before getting good at the basics. While this will provide a short-term feeling of success, overtime you can set yourself up for injury.
3. Vary the activity
There is no such thing as a perfect activity. Too much stress on an area of the body will eventually lead to breakdown if you’re not providing it with the proper time to rest and recover. Sometimes this may be the need to simply rest and take the day off, but often this can be accomplished through strategically varying the activity and the areas being stressed.
4. Pain or discomfort are not a normal part of an exercise program – don’t wait to get checked out
Pain is not normal. As a general rule of thumb, you should feel all of your activity working through your muscles. If you start to feel discomfort through any joint, or excessive tightness in a muscle (especially one sided), don’t wait and assume it will just go away. It is all too common for these little discomforts to turn into overuse injuries over time. It is much quicker to address when taken care of immediately. Be smart and don’t be afraid to seek help to keep you performing at a high level over time.
If you have any overuse injuries, experience any joint pain, or aren’t sure where to start – make sure to contact us today for a free consultation with a Doctor of Physical Therapy.