Have a hard time recovering from exercise? Do you always push your limits and spend hours in the gym? If so, you might be at risk for overtraining.
This condition results from an imbalance between work and recovery. Also known as overtraining syndrome, it’s common among athletes and weekend warriors alike. It may cause decreased physical performance, reduced strength, muscle loss, impaired immune function, fatigue, and sleep problems.
Overtraining is often the culprit behind sports injuries. Your muscles and joints need time to recover from exercise. If you keep pushing yourself to the max, your body may not be able to keep up. This can result in overtraining and overuse injuries. IT band syndrome, tendonitis, muscle sprains and strains, and runner’s knee are just a few examples.
About half of all injuries that occur in young athletes are due to overtraining and overuse. Approximately 50 percent of them are preventable. Here are some simple ways to prevent overtraining and overuse injuries so you can get the most out of your workout without taking unnecessary risks:
A common mistake among gym goers and sports enthusiasts is trying to do too much too soon. There’s even an old saying that summarizes this quite well: no pain, no gain.
Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, overtraining can result in severe injuries and keep you from working out for weeks or even months.
Whether you’re into team sports, weight lifting, running, or swimming, make sure you gradually increase workout intensity and duration.
Let’s say you’re squatting 100 pounds. Increase the load by about 10 percent each week rather than putting an extra 50 pounds on the bar from one training session to the next.
If you haven’t worked out in a long time, start training with baby steps. Begin with 10-15 minutes of exercise in the first week, add some push-ups or high knees to the mix during week two, and begin to use dumbbells during the third week. If you ever skip your workouts, don’t try to do an entire week’s worth of exercise in one day.
Always Warm Up
There’s a reason why sports experts emphasize the importance of warming up before training. This simple practice can help prevent injuries while increasing your flexibility and range of motion.
Warming up prior to physical activity prepares your body for exercise. It may also help enhance power and strength, leading to improved overall performance. Dynamic stretching appears to work best.
Stretch your whole body, especially the muscles that you’re planning to train. Your warm-up routine may include walking lunges, leg swings, torso twists, and more.
Use Proper Form
No matter your fitness levels and sport of choice, using proper exercise form is paramount. This not only helps deter injuries, but it may also speed up your progress and lead to better gains.
When trying out a new exercise, use light weights until you learn how to do it right. Watch videos to see how it should be done. Ask a personal trainer or fitness instructors to show you the correct lifting form.
Beware of high-intensity training, such as HIIT and Tabata, does not apply to all exercises. While it’s true that working out at high intensity burns more calories and fat, it doesn’t mean you should always use this strategy. Squatting, for example, requires a slow, controlled motion. If you’re rushing through the rep, you might end up with knee or back injuries.
Want more information on how to stay injury-free when working out or playing sports? Perhaps you already have an injury that keeps you from reaching peak performance? Contact our pain management clinic 347.252.6732 today to receive the advice and treatment you need!