While you may hear the commonly recited phrase, "no pain, no gain" from athletic individuals, this isn't necessarily true. While repetitive and strenuous activities may put you at risk of injury, the setbacks to your fitness, discomfort and pain associated with workout-related injuries are entirely avoidable. Here, our Stittsville physiotherapists explain some of the ways you can avoid injury in your workouts as well as how they can help if your do suffer one.
Whether you run, lift weights or play sports, working out comes with a risk of injury. The strenuous and repeated movements involved in working out can come with the risk of suffering either a progressive or acute injury.
There are plenty of strategies available to you, however, to help give yourself the best chance of avoiding the unnecessary pain, discomfort and fitness setbacks associated with an injury. Some are common knowledge and you can undertake on your own, while others should be done under the watchful eye of a professional such as a sports physiotherapist. Here are some measures you can take to reduce your chances of an injury and help aid your recovery if you have sustained a workout injury.
Warm-up and cool-down
The start and end of your workouts should involve dedicated periods of light exercise, called warm-ups and cool-downs. Warm-ups gradually increase your heart rate and loosen your muscles. In this way, they ease your body into working out and help it adjust to strenuous activity.
Cool-downs slowly bring your heart back to its normal rate and gives your muscles time to adjust to no longer performing strenuous activity. Warm-ups and cool-downs can involve light jogging, jumping rope, riding an exercise bike and stretching.
Ease into it
Any time you start a workout for the first time, or the first time in a while, make sure you ease into it. This both applies to a single workout you haven't done before and a whole routine. Instead of leaping right into things, gradually build up the duration, frequency and intensity of your workouts. Many acute injuries come from pushing yourself too hard too early.
As your level of fitness and ability, both generally and for specific activities, increases, so too will your ability to push your boundaries. When you are returning to a workout routine after a break, whether that be because of injury or another cause, make sure you don't push yourself to the standard you held yourself to before. If you do, you may just injure yourself all over again.
Just like you should ease into things, you should also make sure you don't overwork your body by doing one activity too often. The frequent repetition of the same movements without rest can cause progressive injuries like shin splints or tendonitis that are often caused by overuse.
To avoid this, vary the muscle groups your workouts engage every day. The specifics will always vary based on the individual, so you should ask your physiotherapist what kind of cross-training and workout planning will work best for you.
Know your trouble spots.
When considering what workout to do, always keep in mind areas of your body which you are problem areas. This can include muscles you have injured and still need time to rest, or areas that are weak and need strengthening.
While you know you own body, including what hurts and what doesn't, you should always defer to your physiotherapist when it comes to targeting workouts to parts of your body that are giving you trouble. They will be able to identify and assess issues you may not even be aware of and provide expert guidance on how to work those areas without causing pain or injury.
Treating Workout Injuries
At Motion Works Physiotherapy & Sports Injury Centre, our physiotherapists are able to assist in alleviating the pain and speeding the healing of a workout injury as well as strengthening the injured part of your body to prevent future incidents.
If you've suffered an acute injury from working out, the first step you should take should always be to control your pain and any swelling. This can involve elevating the injury, icing it and compressing it. The pain dissipating doesn't mean that the injury is healed though.
If your injured area has not been properly retrained and rehabilitative, you risk it reoccurring or causing a different one altogether. Our Stittsville sports physiotherapists are able to customize individual treatment programs that can help your injury to heal and for your to safely regain your mobility and strength.
Some of the treatments we offer include:
- Stabilization with tape or bracing
- Acupuncture for the management of pain and swelling
- Manual Therapy for joint restrictions or stiffness
- Ultrasound and other electrotherapy agents for the management of acute injuries
- Active exercises to restore flexibility, strength, endurance and balance
Are you trying to find ways to prevent a workout injury from occurring, or have you recently suffered from one?
Our team of physiotherapists is specially trained in sports medicine and can help you to recover.