There’s nothing worse than getting injured during a training program or exercise session, especially when much preparation and planning has gone into getting started and you feel you are doing really well and making quality health and fitness gains.
I guess we can all benefit from developing an increased awareness of the many risk factors that can lead to sustaining such a frustrating injury.
I’ve had a few in my time playing sports, and perhaps you have also encountered at least one from the list below if you exercise on a regular basis.
Sometimes we just cannot avoid certain injuries, these things happen and we class it as experience – but being aware of the most common causes can help us to either change something to avoid them or be more conscious of the risks involved with fitness.
In no particular order, lets take a look a seven common ways we can get injured when training or performing exercise:
1. Failing to Warm Up
There is a lack of sound scientific evidence to suggest for certain that warming up will prevent injury.
Despite this, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence, logic and personal experiences to strengthen it’s value.
You will do well to find a sports coach or fitness professional that does not advocate a warm up before a moderate or intense exercise session, and for good reason too.
I’m sure you would agree that a pre-exercise warm up helps your muscles to become more responsive and less strained.
Whether a warm up is supported by evidence or not, spending 5 – 10 minutes light jogging and stretching to avoid an injury that could have you sidelined and inactive for weeks or months seems like a definite no-brainer.
It’s about reducing the risks rather than trying to completely avoid injury.
2. Implementing Poor Exercise Technique
This is definitley up there with some of the most common ways to get injured, especially with exercise beginners and when we are new to certain exercises.
Incorrect technique can pull, rip or tear muscles and delicate connective tissues.
Performing consistently poor exercise techniques can develop muscle imbalances, which can lead to complications in several delicate locations around the body i.e. back pain, knee pain.
It can be worthwhile hiring a fitness instructor or personal trainer to design and demonstrate exercises to perform with correct technique.
If you would rather not take this route then at least try not to jump head first into new exercises, watch video demonstrations on YouTube and fitness blogs or read up on the instructions and prerequisites to ensure proper technique.
Applying continuous stress on the body without giving yourself adequate time to recover can put you at a high risk of long term injury.
When it comes to improving your fitness levels or blasting through plateaus, less can be so much more.
The body needs time to recover and rebuild with adequate nutrition, rest and sleep.
Overtraining will drain your energy and in such a depleted, tired and weakened state, is it any wonder why or how an injury is likely to occur?
4. Lack of Flexibility and Poor Range of Motion
Flexibility is one of the most overlooked components of training and exercise programs.
A lack of flexibility can significantly reduce your range of motion and create imbalances around your body increasing the risk of injury.
Back pain, hamstring, calf and groin strains are the most common injuries when flexibility is neglected.
Unfortunately some of us may be more at risk of injury because of the way our joints are structured, shaped and developed based upon our genetics.
Thank your parents, grandparents and great grandparents for this if you are susceptible to injury even when maintaining good exercise and fitness practice.
6. Ignoring the Need for Safety
Injury often occurs when we choose to wear inappropriate training kit and clothing such as poor footwear or restrictive clothing.
This means your body may not be adequately supported or protected to safely perform the activity at hand, increasing the chance of injury.
7. Excessive Loading on the Body
Lifting to much weight or performing more exercise than is necessary or beyond current capabilities often leads to injury.
Too much weight or exercise load can mean the sacrifice of technique and a loss of control in the movements being performed.
As cool as it might be if we could, we just cannot defy gravity no matter how much we try. If you have lifted a weight and it is too heavy, it will come whizzing back down and injure anyone in its way – most likely you.
Taking it one step at a time and staying within our bio-mechanical limits will keep us safe and allow us to progress quickly and safely.