While the phrase "no pain, no gain" may be commonly recited when it comes to the process of working out, this isn't necessarily true. While the repetitive and strenuous activity involved in most workouts may put you at risk for injury, the pain, discomfort and setback to your fitness which result can be avoided. Here, our Nepean Sports Medicine & Physiotherapy Centre physical therapists explain a few different ways of avoiding an injury in the course of your workout routine and how they can help if you do suffer one.
Working out, whether it be lifting weights in the gym, running or participating in sports, comes with the risk of injury. The repeated and strenuous—and sometimes even high-impact—movements that are involved in working out can put you at risk of suffering from either an acute or progressive 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
Each and every workout you do should start and end with dedicated periods of light exercises called warm-ups and cool-downs. Warm-ups gradually increase your heart rate and loosens your muscles and joints before you push yourself, easing your body into the workout and allowing it the time to 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 routine or undertake a new workout activity, make sure you start slowly. This applies to a single workout and throughout a whole routine. Instead of jumping headfirst into things, gradually build the duration,m intensity and frequency of your workouts. Many acute injuries result from pushing yourself too hard too early.
As your level of fitness, and fitness for a given activity, increases, so too will your ability to challenge your boundaries. This applies to returning to a workout routine after an injury as well. If you push yourself to the level that you are used to before your injury, you will likely reinjure yourself.
Just like you shouldn't push yourself too hard, make sure you don't overwork specific muscles by doing one activity too often. Frequent repetition of the same muscle movements without rest periods can lead to injuries such as tendinitis or shin splints that result from 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 may be able to judge what parts of your body hurt or feel weaker than others, when it comes to targeting workouts to parts of your body giving you trouble, you should always ask your physiotherapist first. They will be able to both identify issues you may not even be aware of and give you expert guidance on how to work out those areas without causing yourself pain or injury.
Treating Workout Injuries
At Nepean Sports Medicine & Physiotherapy 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 have suffered an acute workout injury, the first step is always to control any swelling and pain, often involving icing, resting, compressing and elevating the injury. However, the pain dissipating doesn't mean your injury is healed.
If your injury is properly retrained and rehabilitated, you will be at risk of your injury reoccurring or leading to a new one altogether. Our Nepean sports physiotherapists are able to provide you with individualized treatment programs which will help your injury to heal and you to safely regain your strength and mobility.
Some of the treatments we offer include:
- Active exercises to restore flexibility, strength, endurance and balance
- Stabilization with tape or bracing
- Manual Therapy for joint restrictions or stiffness
- Acupuncture for the management of pain and swelling
- Ultrasound and other electrotherapy agents for the management of acute injuries
Are you looking to find ways to prevent a workout injury, or have recently suffered one?
Our team of physiotherapists is specially trained in sports medicine and can help you to recover.
Welcome to the Nepean Sports Medicine & Physiotherapy Centre blog, where we provide lots of helpful tips, news, information and advice about physiotherapy and massage treatments, as well as general health and wellness, in Nepean and Ottawa.