To All Our Patients,
I hope everyone is continuing to get through this isolation period and are emerging from “under the donna” safely.
From our end we have observed an injury trend that has also emerged during this period.
Initially there was an increase in neck, middle back, and lower back injuries. These mostly came from the sudden, enforced sedentary lifestyles that “Staying Home” and working from home created. Poor ergonomics associated with slouched, couch surfing and sitting in dining room chairs at the kitchen bench for hours and hours were the worst culprits.
Fortunately, this seems to be on the decrease, hopefully with better ergonomics and from taking more breaks and doing more exercise.
Recently there has been an increase in injuries from either commencing a new exercise / routine or with an increase in normal exercise levels – well it has been one of the only “legitimate” breaks from working in isolation! I have also been reliably informed (from out Vet) that dog injuries are also on the rise from increased activity levels!
So, I thought it was timely to look at the most common workout exercise injuries, their causes and a 10-point plan for prevention – 10 Tips for Healthy Exercising.
COMMON EXERCISE INJURIES
At Elizabeth Street Physio the most common injuries in this period from exercise have been:
- Shoulder – pain and stiffness from supraspinatus muscle strains/ tendinopathies from e.g. lifting heavy weights overhead.
- Knee – pain and inflammation at the front of the knee (maltreking patellae) from e.g. cycling with a poor set up.
- Low Back – Disc Sprains and muscle strains from poor lifting techniques e.g. deadlift exercises.
Looking through the research articles the most common soft tissue injuries referenced from exercise workouts include:
- Shoulder Rotator Cuff Injuries 17%
- Shin Splints 10%
- Muscle Strains – Hamstring, Groin Pectoral and Biceps 9%
- Iliotibial Band Syndrome 7%
- Sprained Ankle 5% Tennis Elbow 5%
Gray & Finch 2015 in a research paper in” Injury Epidemiology “found when looking at fitness activities that caused the most injuries were.
- Free Weights 42.2%
- Treadmill 9%
- Squats, Lunges and Deadlifts 3%
- Bench Press 2.5%
A US National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) study in 2016 found the most likely Gym exercise without equipment to cause injury were.
- Running 36.3%
- Hiking 14.3%
- Walking 11.0%
- Yoga 4.6%
- Pushups 4.3%
- Squats 2.3%
- Jumping Jacks 0.5%
- Sit-ups 0.4%
Obviously, exercise can cause injury, but the benefits far outweigh this. Exercise is excellent in improving muscle flexibility and strength. It improves our cardiovascular fitness, reduces stress, reduces weight and importantly over this isolation period has reduced the boredom of not being able to do our usual sport and activities.
With just some simple general guidelines, exercise can be done successfully and happily without anyone becoming another statistic.
10 TIPS FOR HEALTHY EXERCISING
- WARM UP AND COOL DOWN– Get a sweat going before your routine such as a starting with a slow jog or running on the spot. I recommend stretching immediately after this. Remember to feel a stretch and not pain. Stretch after your routine to cool down especially the areas/muscles you have been exercising.
- EASE INTO EXERCISE – Gradually increase the intensity, duration, speed, weight, repetition, and frequency of exercise. For example, add a minute walk between intervals of jogging if you are new to the activity.
- CROSS TRAIN – Use different muscle groups within an exercise routine. For example when considering an upper body workout don`t just do the usual Pectorals, Deltoids, Biceps and Triceps .Add in the lower Trapezius and rotator cuff muscles to balance the workout.(It helps to stop middle back pain and rotator cuff impingements.)
Obviously use different pieces of equipment or change your cycling route to change and challenge the muscle groups you are using in a different way.
- POSTURE, POSURE AND POSTURE– Make sure that your body position is correct when exercising. One common mistake is to do Deadlifts with too much weight leading to a rounded back which increase pressure on the discs in the lower back. Ensure that your lower back is in a neutral or inward curve when doing exercises such as deadlifts, squats and lunges.
- RESPECT YOUR PREVIOUS INJURY HOT SPOTS- If you have had a previous injury ensure that this area is properly warmed up and stretched before exercising. For example, if you have had Achilles tendonitis, I recommend warming the area with a heat cream and stretching the calf (Achilles stretch) and finally a walk/jog for 2-3 minutes before you run.
- LISTEN TO YOUR BODY – “No Pain, No Gain, No Good.” Exercise generally should feel a stretch, a burn, fatigue but never painful- If there is pain -Stop.
- ALLOW FOR ADEQUATE REST – Being new to exercise: allow at least one day in between sessions unless specifically regimented in preparation for an event. With intensive workouts, breaks between sets to prevent fatigue and injury is beneficial.
- PROPER TECHNIQUE – Education of how to do an exercise program is paramount in preventing injury. Keeping wrists in a neutral position without over gripping when performing overhead weight bar exercises prevents wrist sprains and tennis elbow.
- APPROPRIATE ENVIRONMENT AND CLOTHING – Probably obvious, but I have treated numerous people with bruising injuries due to dropped weights or kicking legs out into kitchen cupboards. The worst offender is the run down running shoe .If the shoe has lost tread or back heel is becoming wedge – like replace them immediately .As a common rule – every 500-800kms or 6 months for those who run 30-40kms a week.
- STAY HYDRATED – Poor hydration reduces physical and mental performance it can lead to fatigue and cramping. Generally, 1 cup every 20 minutes of exercise. Water is the best fluid to drink.
With all this on board, remember that exercise is supposed to be fun!!If it is painful, then something is wrong. If you have an exercise that is not feeling right , let me know on 96703996 or via the practice email:firstname.lastname@example.org and we can correct or enhance it.
Cheers for now and stay safe, Andrew.