5 Training Tips to Injury Prevention
Finding a mode of exercise you enjoy can be difficult. Whether you’ve been stuck in an exercise rut, or simply never really found your physical activity groove in the first place, once you find an awesome spin class or the most incredible running group, you may find yourself categorizing yourself as an exercise lover after all this time. So much so, you may go from 0 to 60 in a very short period of time.
And then it happens: you show up at 6 A.M. to unleash the proverbial dragon at CrossFit and during that deadlift, something goes awry. It felt like a pop, it sounded like a pop and then, when you tried to stand up, it was excruciating.
If you’re the traditional type, you likely went straight to the MD, who probably wrote up a prescription for painkillers and advised you that your best bet is to lay off and let your body rest. Or worse, you went to see an orthopedic surgeon who advised that an invasive procedure was in order.
I tend to disagree with these approaches, opting instead for a comprehensive evaluation and subsequent physical therapy, regular body work, stretching and strengthening, eating an anti-inflammatory diet (hello, Paleo) and what ever else you might do in order to support the body’s ability to heal itself.
But rather than getting yourself into situation where you’re battling an injury and trying to decipher which means of rehab you’ll employ, how about not getting hurt in the first place?
By approaching your exercise regime with a sound plan in place, you can cut down your risk of injury and make your training a much more enjoyable experience.
Paleoista’s 5 Tips to Injury Prevention
- DON’T DO TOO MUCH TOO SOON
I’m guilty of this. Having been fortunate enough in my career to only have sustained a single injury a few years back, then ramping up the training volume too quickly, I can completely understand with the desire to do more of something fun, but this is where experience has to come in and takeover. Better to ease back into it slowly and be able to build strength and stamina than to wipe yourself out, then crash and burn.
- MIX IT UP
As much as you might love spinning, if you only ever spin, you run the risk of developing muscular imbalances. Think about how the body is positioned on a spin bike. Shoulder forward and internally rotated, low back and hips flexed and lateral movement slim to none. Add driving and sitting at a desk into the mix and over time, if you’re not balancing that out with stretches to open up the chest, the psoas and exercises to strengthen the core, you’ll end up walking around a ½” shorter! By adding in some cross training, you provide more stimuli to the body and end up with an overall stronger and more flexible body.
- USE THE RIGHT GEAR
Don’t join the masses every time the hottest new type of running trainer makes its debut. When a new shoe brand launched several years ago with the hypothesis that all running injuries could be prevented by wearing a shoe with a specific amount of drop from heal to toe, the masses went wild. Some people were helped and others got injured. It’s not a one-size fits all and there’s no doubt that going for a cushioned shoe is not the best approach. Go to a reliable running shop with a qualified biomechanical specialist who can do a gait analysis for you and help you choose the best shoe. And don’t forget to include some barefoot running on grass or sand into the mix to help develop foot strength and ankle stability.
- PRE-TRAIN AND PLAN
If you know that you’re a bit wobbly any time you try that Warrior III pose in yoga, you might want to spend some time doing some core work and stability training before you engage in a new activity where balance will plan a key role. Even finding a few minutes per day to simply stand on one foot at a time while doing the dishes is a good way to pepper in some balance training to your day.
- LISTEN TO YOUR BODY AND KEEP MOVING
It’s not only for what we’re eating that we need to tune in; it’s for how we move. And it’s my belief that the more we move, the better we feel. Even if you’re under the weather, or if you haven’t completely gone Paleo yet and you’re suffering with PMS, going out for a walk or an easy swim will help. You’ll increase circulation, get some fresh air into your body and mind, and help the body ease back to feeling 100%.
When all is said and done, exercise should be a fun period of time that we all engage in each and every day. Being able to move fluidly and have function as high performance machines is something each and every one of us can share as our common goal.