So, you have a new workout routine and you’re really into it. You’re feeling stronger by the day, and are definitely pushing your limits!
But then, you get injured.
We’ve all been there. It’s a total progress (and mood) killer. Even though exercise is essential to staying healthy and strong, it is possible to do too much at once or over time causing minor, yet persistent, injuries. To help you stay safe and healthy during your workouts, we’ve put together a list of three common fitness injuries and some tips on how to help prevent them.
1. Shin Splints
Runners, this one might sound familiar!
Shin splints happen when excessive demand is placed on the muscle that covers the lower leg, causing a tear in the muscle and connective tissue...not to mention shin pain. With proper rest, this stubborn injury can take weeks to heal.
This usually occurs in people who start a new workout routine and do too much too fast. It can also occur in those with improper running mechanics. If you ‘overstride,’ meaning your heel strikes the ground in front of your body, instead of beneath it, you’re more susceptible to shin splints.
Tips to prevent shin splints:
Ease into your new workout routine; work your way up to the higher intensity and high impact movements
Make sure you have proper footwear. A new, well fitting pair of shoes can make a world of difference
Work on exercises to strengthen the surrounding muscles including the muscles on the bottom of your feet and your calves. Working on ankle mobility will help in recruiting the correct muscles for running
2. Plantar Fasciitis
There is a long ligament at the bottom of your feet that connects your heel to your toes. Over time, prolonged and excessive activity like running and high-impact exercises can cause it to be strained and even tear. Even with proper rest and treatment, this injury can take a long time to heal - anywhere from 6 to 18 months. Plantar fasciitis is most commonly seen in runners over the age of 50.
Tips to prevent plantar fasciitis:
Mix high impact workouts, like running, with low impact ones, like swimming
Choose shoes with good support
Use a lacrosse ball or tennis ball to massage the bottom of your foot before and after high impact exercises
3. Muscle Strain
Muscles have the incredible ability to increase in temperature and pliability to give you a bigger range of motion. When you strain a muscle, it means you’ve pushed that muscle too far before it was warmed up and ready. Strains can happen in almost any area, but are most common in the lower part of the body. Since muscles have sufficient blood flow it allows for a relatively quick recovery, healing within 2-3 weeks.
This normally occurs in people who haven’t warmed up properly. But, it’s also possible that regardless of your warm-up, you can still strain a muscle because you simply put too much stress on it during your workout.
Tips to prevent muscle strains:
Never skip a warm up
Increase the intensity of your routine gradually
Master the form and technique of a movement before adding resistance
Remember: progress doesn’t happen overnight. Regardless of the injury you’re trying to prevent, limit your overall effort to a max of about 70% of your full intensity for the first few workout - including speed, amount of weight lifted and range of motion. Science says this strategy lets your body respond to the new stimulus in a positive way, instead of overloading the skeletal and muscular systems in a way that promotes a breakdown.
Stay healthy, CG Nation!
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