If you’ve been exercising for a while, chances are that you’ve had to deal with some form of injury. It could be anything from a sprained ankle to stress fracture to serious back or knee problems.
Minor injuries can be dealt with by resting and giving your body a chance to recover. These can happen whether you are exercising or not.
I am sure you have seen or heard of people straining a muscle from a Saturday night at the bowling alley or playing a pick-up basketball game.
Or tripping over a package on the floor. This recently happened to my sister who prefer to go for early morning walks. Because it was still somewhat dark, she tripped on the sidewalk and fracture her collar-bone. Fortunately, she is a quick healer and was able to return to her normal activities shortly afterwards.
The point is that . . . . injuries can happen at any time and not necessarily when exercising. However because exercise injuries can be unique and a momentum stopper, it’s important to treat them immediately and correctly.
What are causes of exercise injuries
There are many causes of injuries. Some of the more common ones include:
- Accidents in the gym . . . . weights falling on toes or other body parts. This has happened to me on more than one occasion.
- Lifting weights that are too heavy
- weather conditions – rain/ice
- not using common sense
- not using equipment correctly
- not working with a partner on certain exercises
- being chased by dogs in the park
That last one has happened to me on several occasions in the park.
Some type of common injuries include
- stress fractures
- shin splints
- Achilles rupture ( this particular injury has caused me to miss a lot of cardio time)
- broken bones
- back/ knee/shoulder problems
How to prevent injuries
Preventing most injuries requires the person to use common sense. If someone is lifting weights give them space unless they ask for assistance in which case you must use proper spotting techniques.
When starting an exercise program don’t lift more than you can handle. Specifically, lift weights that will allow you to do ten to twelve repetitions. I know some days you may feel stronger than normal but my advice is to stay within your range and gradually increase the weights.
Walk before you run. I am sure you have heard this cliché before. It is a good rule to follow when doing any cardio exercise. Start slowly and build up your endurance and stamina over time.
Certain injuries can be very nagging – namely joint issues. Your shoulders, elbows, wrist and knees are joints to pay particular attention to when doing resistance. Normal daily activities – walking, sitting and even lying in the prone position can cause discomfort in these areas if care is not used when exercising.
Always seek out the assistance of a trainer or an experienced person to demonstrate the used of gym equipment. If exercising at home, be sure to use a training manual. A good place to start is by getting a copy of “Exercises for diabetics today“. There you will find a complete guide for training that will take you from a beginner status to an experienced exerciser.
If you are just starting an exercise program you may experience aching muscle after your first couple of sessions. This is not considered an injury although it may feel like one. It’s referred to as delayed onset muscle soreness or DOMS. It can vary from mild to severe. It happens to all athlete and especially those who are returning after taking some time off. This is treated by resting your body . . . . giving it enough time to recover, and getting the muscle use to doing work.
Any serious injuries must be treated by a qualified medical personnel. Do not take an injury lightly because it can lead to serious issues over time.
Care must be taken to rest any injured body part by letting it heal completely. If you must exercise then be sure not to use the affected body part . . . . use an opposing muscle group. For example, if you injured your shoulder then exercise your legs on a bicycle or a leg machine. Or if you knee is out of sorts, then exercise you shoulders.
Because our goal is to make exercise a lifetime activity, pay attention to all injuries and take care to avoid them. It can be a momentum killer. I am a big advocate of using a partner when exercising, you can watch each other’s back.
P.S. For more information on how to deal with exercise injuries visit How to Prevent Pre-diabetes.