January 6, 2017 as seen on the Energy Times Facebook page
Avoiding Gym Injuries
So…you’re nearly a week into that big New Year’s resolution to exercise every day when you bend over to pick up a weight–and throw out your back in the process. It’ll be a week, at least, before you can even think about walking around the block, never mind getting back to the gym.
Sound familiar? Injuries are not only problems in themselves but can stop a fitness plan dead in its tracks. If you want to avoid that fate, Margaret Harvey, DO, an orthopedic surgeon with Plancher Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine (http://plancherortho.com/), offers the following advice.
Start with a warmup. Run in place for a few minutes before stretching, then gently and slowly practice the motions of the exercise to follow.
Don’t skip the stretch. Start stretching slowly and carefully until reaching a point of tension. Hold each stretch for 20 seconds, and then slowly and carefully release it.
Don’t cling to machine handrails. Keep your hands resting lightly on them. The rail death-grip causes a hunched position that can lead to improper spine alignment.
Cross train. Switching from one activity to another prevents mental burnout and since different activities target slightly different muscle groups, the result is more comprehensive conditioning.
Focus on muscle groups. The best exercises are those that work several muscles at the same time–not just the biceps or the abs, let’s say–to build functional strength. Wait at least 48 hours before working the same muscle group again.
Pay attention to your shoes. If you play a sport more than three times a week, get the right shoes for that activity. Regular exercisers should replace their shoes every twelve months or at the first signs or wear (running shoes should be replaced every 480 to 800 kilometers).
Accept your limitations. The bodily changes of aging leaves people more vulnerable to injury. Keep going to the gym, but use more caution as you get older to protect your body.
Consider hiring a professional.Signing up with a personal trainer, even for just a couple of sessions, may pay off in fewer injuries through machine misuse down the road. And use the mirrors, if available, to monitor your form and technique.