So you have read my articles about exercising and you have thought ‘OK, these people seem to know what they are talking about – this year I AM going to go to the gym and do more exercise so I don’t get back pain as often’ … and if you have said that – well done!
However, I don’t want you to do
TOO MUCH, TOO FAST, TOO SOON
Holding back may be tough to do when you’re motivated and ready to start an exercise program or return fully to your sport after a sports injury. However, to prevent injury, ease into any exercise program and gradually increase activity.
When you increase activity, be it exercising at home or in the gym, walking, running, swimming or some other favorite sport, unique stresses are placed on your muscles, bones and heart. You need to prepare the body for doing a new sport.
Progressing too quickly to a level of exertion in which your body is not accustomed puts you at risk for muscle strains or tendonitis, bursitis, stress reactions or micro fracture. If you ignore this advice and just ‘go for it’ too fast without listening to your body, you could end up with an injury that takes a long time to recover from.
The human body continuously adapts to stresses placed on it. Without considering effects of age, the body will increase bone and muscle mass as activity is increased. This also works in reverse. When we are more sedentary, the body reduces bone density and muscle mass. Therefore you should not remember how fit you used to be and imagine you can start your new exercise programme at that level.
I know it might be boring but you do need to start with the ‘big three’ that I have talked about many times and then work up. Set the clock for twenty minutes and do the big three for 10 minutes then you could add squats, side bridges, plank, walking lunges, crunches and then finish off by walking briskly for 10 minutes – easy!
At the beginning of any exercise program or sport season, we’re more susceptible to demands placed on our body. Bones and muscles will adapt accordingly, but this takes time. With every workout, your body will heal and remodel itself to better serve you. Without adequate recovery time, our muscles and bones will fail us, resulting in micro-trauma and overuse injuries.
When the exercises start to feel easy and as though they are not making demands on your body, you can add something like a light weight or a theraband so that you add resistance to your movements. This makes the muscles work harder and you lay down more fibres so you can then do more, but it needs to be a gradual process.
You can prevent an overuse injury from doing too much, too fast, too soon. Increase your distance, time or intensity by no more than 10 percent in one week. Combine this guideline with periods of recovery, mild to moderate workouts and a few intensive sessions to safely progress.
Start by doing 10 repetitions of an exercise or holding a position for 10 seconds and when that feels easy do 15 repetitions and hold the position for 15 seconds and so on gradually and only when your body is finding a particular exercise too easy.
When you add weights or use a theraband then start with 2 lb weights and a lightweight theraband again until they feel as though you are not pushing yourself too much.
You need to feel some effort in order to encourage muscle development but not pain. That ‘no pain, no gain’ is just wrong! It should be ‘no effort, no gain’. Listen to your body and if it feels as though you are overdoing it then you probably are, so stop or change the exercise you are doing.
Not sure what exercises to do and which ones to avoid? Just ask one of us on your next trip to the clinic – or email.
Start now and start slow and keep going – that is the secret!