Your New Exercise Program: How to Avoid Overuse Injuries

After the holidays is the time of year that many of us make the commitment to ramp up our activity level and begin a routine exercise program. We all know the benefits of regular exercise. Weight control, an increase in energy, and decrease risks of type 2 diabetes, stroke, heart disease, some forms of cancer, and falls are all positive benefits of regular exercise.

When beginning an exercise program it is important to take the appropriate steps to avoid potential setbacks. All too often mistakes are made that lead to overuse injuries that greatly affect a person’s motivation and/or ability to continue with their exercise program.

Following these steps will help you reduce your risk of overuse injuries:

1. Always consult with your healthcare provider before beginning any exercise to address any potential issues that may affect your ability to exercise.

2. Do not do too much too soon. You need to understand where you currently are on the “physically active scale” when starting an exercise program. Increasing your activity level too fast can lead to your body breaking down.

3. Warm-up and stretch prior to your routine and cool-down and stretch after your routine. You need to get your body ready for exercise before performing the more physically demanding parts of your exercise routine.

4. Use proper form and use the proper footwear/gear. Whatever activity/exercise you are performing it is important to use proper form to avoid injury. Improper form during an exercise can cause undesired stress on different areas of your body that can eventually breakdown and cause injury. Also, many individuals take for granted having the proper equipment for the exercise they are performing. An example of this making sure you have running shoes that fit appropriately before beginning a walking or running program.

5. Have variation in your exercise program. Variations in your exercise routine will help you avoid overuse injuries and provide you with a more complete workout.

Dustin Eslinger, MA, LAT, ATC
Athletic Trainer
Physical Therapy Consultants, Inc.

December 19th, 2018

Posted In: General

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