You are NOT Invincible!

on December 20, 2012

What do you think is the most common misconception about exercise? Now, this answer isn’t scientific, but it is based on personal experience and observation.

I would argue that the most common misconception is that more is always better.

It’s this little lie that has led to countless injuries. Which, coincidently, force the participant to workout less for an extended period of time. So, my next gift to you this Christmas season is some tips on avoiding exercise related injuries.

First off…Know your body.

Are you predisposed to knee problems? Did you sustain a shoulder injury in high school? My mom remembers doing a handspring in high school and landing on her neck. Although she fortunately got up and walked away, to this day she has upper back pain. She needs to be aware of that when she begins a new activity.

Picking on my parents here, my dad has had the cartilage removed from both of his knees. Lateral movements like those involved in basketball and racquetball are not good choices for him.

Second…Are you from Mars or Venus?

It has nothing to do with a superior sex, but come on, admit it, we’re different. I confess to once feeling challenged to bench as much as the guy next to me. He was only in his second set, so luckily, my stupidity didn’t kill me. But I did drop the bar on my chest.

Women are generally more flexible than men. Gymnasts aside, most men won’t perform as well in yoga or Pilates, as women will.

Interestingly, some studies show that women are more susceptible to injury during their menstrual cycle. So, be extra careful during that time of the month.

Third…Be willing to ask for help. 

Hint, hint. Bootcamp is a great idea. Working out in a group gives you some accountability. A good friend of mine was anxious to get back to running after an injury. If not for her running partner pointing out that she was limping, she might have done too much too soon and really exacerbated her injury.

Also, at Moms Who TRI, trainer, Kristen Hench has a BA in sports medicine. Having a trainer who can offer solutions and alternatives when a certain activity is not good for you, is invaluable.

Next…Grow up. 

Or don’t. The possibility of injury is related to your age. As a rule, youth should not engage in heavy weight training, it’s not conducive to the maturation of their bones. On the other hand, the older you get, the more important resistance exercise is for the protection of your bones and prevention of osteoporosis.

Older individuals should not participate in high impact sports, simply because broken bones and other injuries take much longer to heal.

Fifth…Warm up. 

Who among us hasn’t been tempted to skip the warm up? It seems so pointless, like a waste of time. Shouldn’t we just get going? NO! Even if you’re short on time, do not skip the warm up. If you want to tear a muscle or sprain something, go right ahead full steam into an intense workout.

Muscles are like a rubber band. A good article on this can be found here:

The cold rubber band is the classic example of what a muscle is like prior to activity.  We need to heat the rubber band, or muscle, prior to activity.

Sixth…Back to our original concept… more isn’t always better… don’t overdo it. 

Don’t take it from me,

Rest and recovery in sports is just as important as training. Without allowing the body to recuperate, you compromise performance. Make it a priority to prevent injuries through rest and recovery. You sacrifice form when muscles are tired, and you are more prone to injury.

Everything needs rest, you are no exception. Cars overheat. Your laptop overheats. Things wear out and break. Lightbulbs burn out. So, do yourself a favor, if you don’t want to overheat, break or burn out… sometimes you just need a rest!


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