How to Exercise Without Injury
What you get out of your exercise is determined by your intensity level. If your desired outcome is to lose body fat, then your goal should be to exercise with greater intensity. On the other hand, someone who wishes to build muscles and tone up will train at a different intensity level to achieve their desired outcome.
It is most important that you learn how to exercise without injury.
Muscles have a greater blood supply in contrast to our bones and joints. They can respond, regenerate and revitalise quickly to exercise, and to the demands placed on them during your exercise routine.
The main goal of any exercise routine is to strengthen your muscles (occasional muscle soreness is to be expected), and to ensure that unnecessary overloading on the bones and joints is avoided (minimising your risk of pain and injury). In general, muscle fatigue and soreness lasts for 2-3 days.
During this time your muscles have the chance to rest, rejuvenate and recover stronger and conditioned. In contrast, exercises such as cycling, walking and swimming benefit our bodies aerobically and do not result in muscle pain or soreness.
These aerobic exercises are invaluable and benefit in conditioning both your heart and lungs.
The Difference Between Soreness and Pain
Most often, soreness occurs a day or two after exercising. This soreness is due to the exertion overload placed on your muscles and the release of chemicals from your muscles. Commonly known as “Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness” (DOMS), it is more than likely to occur if you have exerted yourself more than is necessary or you have tried new exercises which your muscles are not used to. The soreness you feel is more of a discomfort rather than pain and generally should subside with rest.
As with most exercise, if you do the same exercises repetitively, your level of discomfort will decrease as your muscles adapt to the routine.
At Central City Physiotherapy we recommend you change your exercise routine every 3-4 weeks. This assists your body in constantly gaining the maximum benefit from your exercise routine. In contrast, if you experience pain after exercise, the pain is normally focussed in one area and tends to be sharp, persistent and can, over a period of time, worsen.
Exercising ‘through the pain’ can aggravate and cause injury and should never be considered. If during your exercise, you experience pain, contact us immediately so we can ascertain the source of the pain and give you the best strategies to manage it.
When you feel pain, use the RICE method.
As we stated above, learning how to exercise without injury should be a common goal towards a healthy lifestyle. Wearing the correct footwear, improper exercise routines and techniques and inadequate warming up and stretching can all contribute to major causes of pain and resulting injury.
Should you experience pain, use the RICE method/formula:
RICE – acronym for:
Rest: Avoid any actions which may increase your pain.
Ice: Apply an ice pack to reduce swelling and pain. Ensure that you do not use the ice pack for more than 10-15 minutes intervals.
Compression: A bandage or handkerchief applied around the injured area (it should be firm, but not too tight), will assist in keeping the swelling down.
Elevation: Elevating the injured body part will also assist in minimizing the swelling.
WARNING SIGNS: If pain persists after 12 to 48 hours of ice and rest, seek advice immediately and consult with your doctor, chiropractor or physiotherapist. Symptoms such as sharp pain and limited movement accompanied by weakness, swelling of the joint or numbness all indicate distress to the body. To facilitate a speedy recovery, act soon and visit your doctor or physiotherapist for expert advice.
Listen to your body and don’t let aches and pains affect your gain. Contact Central City Physiotherapy today.
Our therapists are ready to provide you with a safe and speedy recovery program.