We all want to get the most out of the time we spend exercising, and it’s natural to think that exercising harder is going to provide a bigger, faster payoff.
But exercising harder without adequate preparation often leads to injury. Then there’s recovery time, possibly the need for rehabilitation, and ultimately you’re back at the beginning in terms of fitness, strength, and endurance. As the saying goes, a few ounces of prevention are worth way more than a pound of cure.
The best way to avoid injury is to exercise smarter.
Exercising smarter means doing what you’re capable of doing, and then doing a little bit more. For example, if you’re a runner and typically run three miles a day, three times a week, it wouldn’t be smart to do an eight-mile run the next time you go out. The likely outcome would be a strained muscle, shin splints, or worse. If you lift weights and typically bench press 100 pounds, it wouldn’t be smart to find out what it feels like to bench press 150 pounds. What it could feel like is a back, neck, or shoulder injury!
In either scenario, the price paid for attempting to train “harder” is a few weeks (or months) of downtime while you recover from your injury. Of course, we’ve all made mistakes and sometimes training injuries just happen, but tempting fate by doing too much is not, in fact, “smart.”
Exercising smarter also means listening to your body.
There is a normal level of stiffness and soreness to be expected if you’ve done some heavy lifting or a long run. These should improve with a day or two of rest or “active recovery.” If these aches and pains persist longer than a few days or start to interfere with your regular activities, it may be a good idea to call us for a check-up so we can find the fix any problems as soon as possible.
Lots of variables can impact your performance on a day to day basis — sleep quality and quantity, nutrition, hydration, and general stress can impact your activity tolerance and limits. Even though physical activity is generally considered “good stress,” it is stress and can send your body over the injury edge if you’ve already got other stressy stuff going on in the background. If your energy and recovery are feeling off, or you’re not able to do the things you think you should, check in on these things going in the background, and adjust your routines accordingly.
Many training injuries occur owing to tight muscles and lack of mobility. This causes extra stress and strain on your joints, ligaments, and muscles that can lead to recurring injuries and pain. If you have areas that are chronically tight or painful, even with stretching, smashing, rolling, or massaging, it might be because your body is protecting something by not “allowing” it to move. It is critical to find out why the problem keeps coming back, and one of the most important things we do during your regular chiropractic check-ups is make sure your body is moving as it should, and “tune-up” any areas that might cause trouble. We will also discuss specific stretches and exercises to fix the underlying problem.
We can help you work smarter so you can eventually work harder and continue your progress.