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Thursday, 16 January 2014

So You Made a Resolution

How many of us have made to lose weight by exercising more.  A great way to better yourself and improve your health.  We are half way through January and are starting to reach the point where people are faltering with that resolution.

One of the keys to maintaining a lifestyle change such as working out is to ease into it.  Not only will it easier to have this change be a lasting one, it will be more beneficial to the body.  When you push yourself too fast to soon you put yourself at risk of injury and not maintaining your exercise program which can lead to fluctuating weight.  We are going to focus on the injuries that can occur by doing to much to soon.

There is an increased risk of musculoskeletal injury when taking on a new exercise program to quickly.  Moderation is a key when starting out or changing your exercise program.  The exertion that you are putting on your body is more than it is used to which can lead to injury.  Typical injuries that you may experience when starting out with an exercise program are muscle soreness, muscle strains and depending on your choice of exercise you may see ligament sprains.

Muscle soreness is typical with physical exercise and typically is called DOMS - delayed onset muscle soreness.  DOMS is normal with workouts, and occurs one to two days after exercise.  If the pain is severe or lasts for longer than two days, you have progressed from normal muscle soreness to muscle damage.  If the pain is so severe that you our unable to complete daily tasks such as walking or lasts longer than the normal two days, you need to make a change to your program.  This also applies to any time you make a change to your work out.  For treatment of DOMS the best way to reduce pain is to continue with moderate exercise.  Stretching, cryotherapy and massage therapy have not shown to be beneficial in the reduction of pain from DOMS.  One of the best ways to deal with DOMS is to alternate your work out, by giving the muscle groups a day or two of rest before training them again, you allow the body to heal/repair from the prior work out.

Muscle strains occur when the muscle is taken beyond its normal capacity be it load capacity or range of motion.  These typically occur when using too much weight or performing a move that requires flexibility that you have not gained.  If you have taken up strength training, yoga or classes such as Zumba, you may be more prone to a muscle strain if you do not pay attention to your body.  Slow and easy is the best rule of thumb when starting a strength program. When doing exercises that involve flexibility or doing a movement that goes beyond your norm, pain is your guide.  If the movement hurts, stop.  Find a way to modify the movement, but continue to work on building towards completing the movement properly.

A ligament sprain can occur during weight lifting, running, or during activities such as Zumba, dance, soccer or even yoga.  You typically will not see them if you are cycling, running on a treadmill, rowing or using an elliptical machine.

As part of a complete exercise program, you need to have a flexibility and propioception portion.  A full body stretching program will help alleviate any muscle imbalances caused by improper posture.  Propioception is knowing where you body is in space.  By working on balance and proper positioning you reduce the chance of injury. Think of a volleyball player coming down from a block, if as they land their ankle starts to roll, an athlete with propioception training body will notice this and activate the muscles to avoid the injury.

Setting the goal and resolution of losing weight is an admiral one that will only be of full benefit if you are able to continue with it and avoid injury.

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