How to Avoid Exercise Injuries
As exercise professionals, we get asked all of the time by our clients how to avoid exercise injuries. Whether you’re working out every day or are a casual gym-goer, injury safe exercise is easy, using the below tips.
Firstly, ensure you give yourself time for a slow warm-up. Jumping straight into a high-impact workout is an easy way to find yourself nursing one of the many common exercise injuries. ENZED Fitness always allocates at least 5min before a class to warm up and warm ups always vary depending on the muscles being trained that day.
Spend a few minutes doing an active warm-up, being sure to include functional moments and dynamic stretching. It’s important to keep moving in your prep time as only static movements will do little to aid your warm-up. Save your static stretches post workout in your cool down.
There’s no better feeling than hitting those PBs but, try not to overestimate your abilities. It’s normal to not be able to run as far or to lift a weight as heavy as you have previously. Remember, improving your cardiovascular fitness and strength will be a slow burn, but your fitness journey will be much slower overall if you injure yourself for lack of patience.
Using proper technique with your workouts will ensure injury safe exercise, every time. Proper technique can look like anything from correct back, neck and shoulder placement, to engaging the correct muscles in a movement, ensuring the rest of your body is supported in the right way. Feedback and education on correct technique are two of the main reasons why people choose to work out at a ENZED Fitness, with class sizes small enough for that one-on-one attention and you are never lost in a crowd.
What Do I Do if I’ve Already Injured Myself?
What happens if you’ve already injured yourself? Let’s explore the most common exercise injuries that we see at our Newcastle gym and what you can do to aid in your recovery if you encounter one.
Wrist Repetitive Strain Injury Exercises
The wrists often fall victim to repetitive strain injuries, commonly referred to as RSI. Manual labour and recurring tasks such as typing or writing are both contributors to RSI.
Here are our top two exercise recommendations for wrist repetitive strain exercises:
Wrist Repetitive Strain Exercise 1: Wrist Rotations
- Hold both hands out in front of you, in line with your shoulders
- Make fists with your hands and roll your wrists with the full range of motion that you can achieve
- Keep rolling your wrists for 15 seconds in one direction and then change directions
- Repeat this cycle 3 to 5 times
Wrist Repetitive Strain Exercise 2: Finger Bends
- Hold one hand out in front of you with your palm out flat and fingers pointing toward the ceiling
- Bend your thumb down toward your palm and hold for 10 seconds
- Repeat this same action with each finger on your hand and move over to do the same on your other hand
- Run through this cycle 3 to 5 times
Shoulder Injury Exercises
Our shoulders are the meeting point of many muscles in the upper body and this is why they can be prone to injury. It’s important to keep the muscles surrounding your shoulder strong to both avoid injury and aid in recovery if you do encounter one. Here are our top two shoulder injury exercises:
Shoulder Injury Exercise 1: Arm Across the Body
- Hold your hand close to your waist then reach for your opposite elbow and put it across your chest
- Keep your arm in this position for 30 seconds then release and perform the same exercise on the other side
- Repeat this cycle up to 5 times
Shoulder Injury Exercise 2: Chest Expansion
- You’ll need an exercise band or towel for this action. Hold the band behind your back whilst grabbing onto it with both hands
- Gently pull both of your shoulder blades toward one another whilst lifting your chin toward the roof
- Hold this position for 15 sections while taking deep breaths
- Repeat this cycle up to 5 times
Knee Injury Exercises
Nearly 50% of the population experience some form of knee pain during their life. A variety of factors including sports strains and bumps, arthritis or overuse can lead to chronic joint pain.
Strengthening the muscles around the knee can help with improving your overall mobility and quality of life. Here are our top two low-impact knee injury exercises for reducing general knee pain.
Knee Injury Exercise 1: Hamstring Stretch
Stretching out your hamstrings works wonders to reduce pain and increase mobility. It’s best practice to lay on a mat for this exercise to keep your back comfortable.
Lay down on your mat and extend both legs out in front of you. You may find it more comfortable to bend your knees with your feet flat against the ground
- Use an exercise band to place around the bottom of one foot
- With the band around your leg, straighten it out and raise it into the air. As you perform this action, pull the band tighter until you can feel a deep stretch in your hamstring
- Hold this position for at least 30 seconds, then, slowly lower your leg and repeat on the other side. Repeat each cycle 2-4 times for optimal results
Knee Injury Exercise 2: Clamshells
The hips and knees are closely aligned. We’ve noticed that when our clients improve their hip strength, knee injury pain will improve drastically faster. This exercise will also be more comfortable on a mat.
- Start this exercise by lying on your side with your knees bent, and feet on top of one another. You will find this exercise easier if you hold your head up with your arm for stability
- Gradually lift your knee toward the roof while keeping your feet together. You will feel your hip muscles tighten then, hold this position for 10 seconds. Lower your leg down slowly for the best result
- Repeat this exercise on both legs 10-15 times
PCL Injury Exercises to Avoid
One of the most common knee injuries that we see in our Newcastle Gym is in the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), also known as knee hyperextension. It can take anywhere from two weeks to up to nine months for a PCL injury to heal so it’s important to avoid certain exercises to expedite your recovery.
The PCL injury exercises to avoid are quite simple to follow. For the first 12 weeks, you should not extend your knee past 60 degrees in any aspect of day-to-day life
You should perform open kinetic chain (OKC) hamstring exercises. OKC exercises are where the furthest points from your body, such as your feet, are not fixed to the ground. Two examples of OKC exercises are hamstring curls or resisted step-ups.
Most other leg exercises are completely safe although, we recommend consulting our team to determine which exercises will benefit you the most.
Please note that this blog post is of a general, educational nature. We recommend consulting with the team at ENZED Fitness to determine the safest exercises for your unique fitness and ability level.
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