• The Most Common Exercise Injuries (And How You Can Avoid Them)

    The Most Common Exercise Injuries (And How You Can Avoid Them)

    Some people just don’t spend time exercising because of the fear of getting injured while doing so, especially when they work out alone, at home or unsupervised by a professional instructor. Injuries are possible to be obtained when you work out with wrong posture, wrong body forms, etc.

    Injury possibilities largely depend on what your workouts entail, but there are a few areas of the human body that are more problematic than others.

    Gerald Varlotta, director of sports rehabilitation medicine at New York University’s Hospital for Joint Diseases and the Rusk Institute of the NYU Medical Center, says, “Sometimes it’s a matter of doing the right activity too much or too often. Sometimes it’s a matter doing the right activity wrong. And sometimes it’s a matter of choosing the wrong activity for your particular body type or physical conditioning.”

    Here are the most common injuries one can acquire from exercising:

    Strained back

    According to Associate Professor Brian Parr, PhD and Head Athletic Trainer Brandon Aiken at the University of South Carolina, this is the most common exercise-related injury. Probably the reason is that most people have the weakest muscles on their backs as a result from prolonged sitting at home and at work. So, come exercise time, they experience muscle strain, especially without warming up or going in and hard too fast.

    Strained shoulder
    Our shoulder joints naturally have a large range of motion that allows injuries caused by overusing it or poor posture and technique. Some cases of injuring the shoulders include dislocation/damage of the rotator cuff, which can be more detrimental depending on the degree of the case.

    ACL/PCL injuries
    A tear in the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) or Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL) is more commonly addressed to as ACL/APL. This injury is more common in athletes; given that they spend more time working out. But, this doesn’t mean that it can happen to you. If you play any sports with jumping or rapid changing in direction, knee injuries like this are definitely a possibility. Having torn your ACL or PCL can take you off your feet for months, and may even require surgery.

    Runner’s knee
    This injury is an irritation of the cartilage underneath your kneecap.
    Achilles Tendinitis
    In layman terms, your tendon tightens and becomes irritated.
    Pulled or torn hamstring
    Hamstring issues are usually caused by weak, overly tight, or imbalanced leg muscles.

    Now that you know what are the most common injuries you can get from working out, here are some tips that you can apply and follow during your next trip to the gym:

    1. Listen to your body.
    One of the best ways to avoid fitness injuries is to know your body’s limitations.
    Orthopedic surgeon Kenneth Plancher, associate clinical professor at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, says, “This isn’t just about avoiding certain fitness activities until you’re in better shape, though that’s part of it. It’s also about knowing what your weak areas are and then avoiding the type of activities that are going to push hard on that weakened area.”
    “The point is that you have to acknowledge the weakest areas of your body,” Plancher says. “And if you can’t slowly build them up, then, to avoid injury, you have to avoid the activities that stress them.”

    2. Men and Women are different.
    Plancher says, “Both men and women have specific gender-related physiologic issues that can set them up for injuries when they do specific types of workouts.”
    Men function better in activities requiring a rigid plane of motion and those that needed that strength boost (weight lifting, push-ups and those using Nautilus machines). Women, on the other hand, do better activities requiring multiple or diagonal planes of motion, like Pilates, yoga, or cycling, which interestingly, activities during which men are more likely to be injured.

    Women are also at greater risk for ACL injuries, that’s why they should exert greater care when participating in activities that require quick “twist and turn” leg motions, such as skiing, basketball, and racquet sports as well.

    3. Have your personal trainer
    “One of the best ways to avoid injury is to take a few lessons with a certified trainer,” Plancher says. This will help ensure your body is in proper form and alignment while you’re working out, which is step one in avoiding injuries, he says.
    Aside from that, getting expert advice can also keep you from doing the wrong workouts for your body type and help you moderate your routines so you don’t do too much, too soon, says personal trainer Alex Schroeder.

    4. Warm It Up and Take It Slow
    This is to reiterate that you won’t burn more calories if you jump in the workout as intense as possible. Every type of exercise needs you to build your pace over time. Plus, you’re less likely to get injured if you warm up before every session.
    “The warm-up helps the muscles to handle stress so they are less likely to be injured,” Plancher says. “And the pacing is just the common sense way to avoid injury.”

    5. Don’t Overdo It and take the rest time seriously
    When you repeat the same muscle movements, Schroeder says, it leads to “overuse and repetitive use injuries, such as shin splints, tendinitis, and never-ending muscle soreness.”

    It’s also important to give muscles adequate rest between workouts.
    “It’s OK to work out every day as long as you’re not feeling the pain,” Varlotta says. “But if you are [working out every day], remember that tired muscles are an invitation to injury. So give yourself adequate time to rest and recover.”

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