Right now, neighborhood gyms and workout studios are prepping for the yearly New Year's resolution surge in new members signups. Some are seasoned gym members while some are newbies to this. However, it's important to be in the know and learn the common gym injuries that can happen.
Aside from being painful and debilitating , workout injuries can set you back weeks or even months from your fitness goals. Whatever your fitness level and goals, getting injured sure isn't on your to-do list. Take a look at this list of common workout injuries and tips that can minimize your risk for injury.
- Torn or pulled hamstring: Hamstring injuries are primarily a result of weak, super tight, or imbalanced leg muscles. Give your hamstrings some extra love. Try these at the end of your workout: standing hamstring stretch, modified hurdler stretch, forward bend with rounded back and reclined hamstring stretch.
- Lumbar AKA lower back: Particularly common, these workout injuries have many causes. The biggest culprits? Paying little or no attention to warming up the muscles in your lower back. Lower back muscles that aren't properly warmed up are not able to absorb the energy placed on them when working out. Try these yoga poses to relieve your achy back: downward-facing dog, child's pose, cat and cow pose, triangle pose and upward facing dog.
- Strained shoulder: The joints in the shoulder have dynamic range of motion (ROM) that are prone to workout injuries from overuse or poor technique and posture. Don't listen to 'push through pain' mantra's, instead rest your shoulders to avoid damaging your rotator cuff. Recommended workouts include, wall pushups, shoulder presses and training with resistance bands.
- Runner's knee (patellofemoral pain syndrome): This term is a catch all phrase for all knee pain. Treating and avoiding runner's knee involves adding strengthening and stretching to your workout routine. Contrary to the name, runner's knee is not only caused by running – sitting with a bent knee for a time, walking up stairs or hilly pathways can cause it as well. So before you go running, make sure to invest in appropriate footwear/ insoles, do some stride modification and implant a training plan plus mind your running surface, especially if you're running outdoors.
- Hernia: The ouch factor of hernia pain is pretty high, so preventive measures go a long way. Things not to do: hold your breath while squatting with weights. While this may make it feel like you can lift more weight, the increased pressure on your internal organs plus the increased blood pressure can cause internal organs to push through the walls of their encasing aka a hernia. To prevent hernia, you want to strengthen your core muscles and stability. While having a six-pack is cool, it's not a prerequisite for boosting your core strength. Try this: abdominal crunches, walking, dance or other exercises that focus on that area without use of weights and are low-impact.
- Carpel tunnel syndrome: A common condition where the median nerve in the hand responsible for sensation and movement is 'entrapped' or strained. It's characterized with pain in the hand plus a tingling feeling in the fingers. In the worst of cases, numbness and difficulty gripping. These type of strain are common workout injures for anyone active in grip-dependent activities like tennis, golf and baseball. Modify your routine by adopting a more relaxed style of grip, taking frequent breaks to encourage
- Achilles tendinitis: Caused by overuse of muscles that link calf muscles at the lower part of your leg to the bone that is your heel can cause this injury. It's common among runners who've suddenly amped the intensity and duration of their runs. It can also happen if you're middle-aged and only engage sports like basketball and tennis strictly during the weekends. Thankfully you can treat Achilles tendinitis relatively simply with doctor supervised at-home care. Orthotic devices like a shoe wedge or insole can also be used to relieve strain on the tendon and provide much needed cushioning to ease pressure on your Achilles tendon.
All things considered, returning to exercise after a workout injury is never easy. Employing a preventative and mindful course action will help keep you on track for your fitness goals. Getting in shape is not an overnight venture so patience and planning are key. This list of common workout injuries is by no means meant to reflect possible injuries in their entirety. Use it as a general guide to help you avoid most workout related injuries. Remember too that just because you workout three or more times a week you are free and clear. Workout injuries can happen to anyone, so why not play it smart and protect yourself.
The smarter your workout, the less likely you are to end up benched by injury.
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