Sunday, March 25, 2012

Injury Prevention & Dealing with Injuries

Hey everyone,
Sorry but I was out of town last week so I didn't have time to sit down and post anything decent. This week I wanted to focus on injuries. A number of you currently are injured and there are a few of you that are dealing with pain and discomfort every time you workout. I am one of you! While I was in New Zealand I developed a pretty bad case of Patella Tendonosis and it's gotten to be pretty painful, especially on Leg days!
First of all the easiest and most effective way to AVOID injury is to do an adequate warm up. Always begin with a low to moderately low aerobic warm up to increase the blood flow and prepare your heart and mind for what you are about to do. From there, move into static stretching. Many people hold their stretches for 5 to 10 seconds, but studies show that holding stretches from 30 seconds even upto 1 minute is far more effective. I'll be the first to admit that stretching is boring and uncomfortable but if you make it a part of your routine, you won't have to think about it and it will become more enjoyable. From a static stretch, move into a dynamic movement. Examples of this could be yoga or pilates poses, running high knees, butt kicks or something that incorporates both movement and stretching. This will make it less of a shock when your workout begins.
Once, your workout is completed, a cool down is absolutely essential! Take your warm up routine and reverse the order and this will make for a great cool down. By doing so, you decrease your recovery time (which means you won't be a stiff and sore-for as long anyways), reduce venous blood pooling, Lactid Acid levels in your body will lower and your overall functional strength will increase.
Both your warm up and your cool down should take up to 10 minutes each.
Below is a fantastic example of a dynamic warm up:

Other than, warming up and cooling down, making sure you are hydrated is essential aswell as proper nutriton leading up to your workout! Also, foam rollers are a great option for self massage, massage is a great way to teach your mind about muscular awareness and to release those painful knots which we all get.

Next, if you are already injured in any way, whether it be a muscular injury, a tendon or ligamant injury or maybe just you are not feeling 100%. You have to know what the injury is! Don't just assume you will be okay once you get to the gym. Once you are diagnosed (which most likely will mean a trip to the Doctor), know what your limitations are! If I have a lower back injury, then coming in to the gym and doing Deadlifts and Hyperextensions is the last thing I could want to do! I would want to do more of a stretching workout or incorporate a light constant resistance that is easy on that area, so a pool workout and or yoga class would be the best thing for me.
Braces and athletic tape is available at most supermarkets and sports stores and for my knee injury it makes a real diference whn it comes time to squat if I have my knee brace with me or not.
Finally, don't be ashamed to take time off due to an injury. If it's a legitimate injury where 'pushing through it' will cause even more problems then be smart, use common sense and rest it up!
For those of you who I see that have the minor injuries and ARE 'pushing through it', I admire your dedication, just please be careful! Working out is such a great thing to have as our lifestyles, so treat your bodies with the espect it deserves: Warm up effectively, train hard, cool down and be smart!

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