Injury Prone, Maybe Not!

October 12, 2015

   I've recently had a couple of injuries that have slowed me down: shoulder pain (deltoid), neck and upper back pain (trapezius ), weakness in my ankles (tibilas anterior). Why, I wonder?

   I've been getting at least 7 hours of sleep nightly. I eat pretty clean and even though I know I haven't done my regular exercise, I do work out more regularly than most. Once I started thinking about the reasons why these injuries might be happening I realized it could be more than just my workouts! According to the U.S. consumer product safety commission, the following fitness-related injury statistics occurred in 2009: 

1) 1,500 emergency room visits resulting from equipment related mishaps in gyms.

2) 50,000 emergency room visits from home exercise equipment: treadmill falls, exercise ball falls, elastic stretch band hits to face, and dropping free weights on feet.

3) 575 occurrences of falling off and/or tripping from treadmills, the number one cause of equipment related injuries. Weight machines and free weights caused 224 injuries.

So, here are just a few that you might want to be aware of as well:

Wearing Incorrect Footwear 

   If you’re doing high impact aerobics such as running or jogging, wearing the the right shoes can help to prevent injuries to your feet and legs. Getting measured is important to be sure you are choosing the correct size shoe. Make sure the shoes you choose provide plenty of arch and bottom support because failing to wear properly fitting shoes with poor support can lead to shin splints, ankle sprains, blisters and aching feet. A good rule of thumb is 1 pair every 6 months if you walk, run or jog on a regular basis.  

Wearing Inappropriate Jewelry and Clothing

   Make sure you take off any jewelry that might inhibit or exert undue pressure as you’re moving at home. For example, a swollen finger with a ring on it could cause plenty of pain and in an extreme case the ring may need to be cut off. It's happened. Clothing should be a comfortable fit not too tight and certainly not to loose. You want full range of motion when doing your exercises.

Not Warming Up

   Sprains and strains are often caused by improperly warming up the muscles and joints prior to your activity. Over stretching a muscle or ligament is possible if they're not properly warmed up. It's good to develop a warm up routine and there ae several exercises perfect for it: jumping jacks, lunges, leg swings, push ups, squats and hip extensions are some of the main ones.

Poor Training

With any activity you use proper form and technique.  Without following proper form, especially during strength training, you can severely injure muscles, ligaments and tendons.  Make sure you understand exactly how each movement should be performed. 


   Vary your workout. I'm a big proponent of this one. Using one set of muscles or repeating the same muscle movements frequently can lead to overuse and repetitive-use injuries. Doing the same exercises day after day can place undue stress on muscles and joints. There are several common injuries caused by over use: stress fractures, shin splints, tendinitis, golfers elbow and tennis elbow to name a few..

Not Resting Enough Between Workouts

   Experts agree that one rest day per week is a healthy approach to a fitness regime and assures that your body is allowed enough time to repair and recover. That doesn’t mean you have to lay around on the couch all day eating bon bons!  You can still be active. Take an easy hike, walk or bike ride. But, don’t worry about pushing the pace or getting into your training zone. Use a bit of common sense. If your body feels overworked and is begging to stop, listen and give your body a rest. This will help prevent injury.

   The bottom line is to pay attention. If something is hurting or doesn't feel right then take notice. If you're low on energy slow down your workout or shorten it. And if you're not feeling well stay home, rest and recuperate. Your body will heal faster. In the big picture, consistency of your workouts is more important then how hard you work.