SAVING YOURSELF FROM INJURIES
Yes, it is THAT time of the year again! Time to plan for the new year with a brand new style, hairdo and oh, how could we forget, some new resolutions 😉 One of the most common resolutions that never fails to make it to the list is hitting the gym which is why there’s always a ‘gym situation’ in January.
But before we get overly excited about getting in shape, losing weight or gaining some muscles, take a step back and work out a game plan for this. Let’s face it, hitting the gym may be exhilarating and exciting especially when you feel sore the next day because hey, it shows that you really gave it your all during the workout session. But wait a minute, does it only mean that you’ve gotten a good workout session in? In some cases, the sores that we feel are actually injuries.
While pushing yourself is often encouraged and commendable, more often than not, we’re making ourselves vulnerable to injuries. Sometimes when you’re overly excited, you tend to just ride on adrenaline without consciously being aware of your own capabilities. It’s almost like running at a speed that your legs can’t keep up with – you’ll eventually fall!
So, to keep you unharmed, here are a few things you need to be aware of:
1. Familiarize Yourself With The Movements
Most times people get so excited and they hurt themselves when they try out new workout mainly because the technique and form are both wrong. Take deadlift for an example. A workout movement like that could injure your back if you have a rounded back at the starting position. A rounded back has the potential to cause a back injury simply because it is in an awkward position and a lot of force is placed upon the back.
2. Know Your Flexibility/Mobility of Your Muscles & Joints
We often underestimate certain workouts or sports and overestimate our capabilities which then leads to over exertion and strain. The strain could easily be mistaken as the regular sore feeling that we get after a good intense workout. Now that we know that this is one of the factors, do keep this in mind to avoid getting hurt because prevention is better than cure.
3. Know Your Strength & Muscle Capacity
It can be tough training without a personal trainer or coach because you simply do not know how to gauge your strength and muscle capacity. This is where the rule of thumb comes into play – if you’re struggling to do just 3 reps, it is no doubt that the weight is too heavy (Lango,2016). It’s good to push yourself, however, it might cause an injury if you overuse your muscle. For example, if you force yourself with an unfamiliar weight when performing a back squat, your knees will probably give way and before you know it, you’d be on the bench waiting to recover.
Having said that, even the professional athletes can still sustain an injury. The most common areas susceptible to injuries are your KNEES, BACK & SHOULDER. So sometimes, there is no escape to this. Take for example Lauren Fisher, a crossfit athlete who sustained an injury. Depending on the kind of injury sustained, sometimes a surgery is required. However, should you ever sustain a minor injury, it can easily be treated with the PRICE therapy within 2 -3 days at home (NHS UK, 2015). In instances like these, it is best to take a break from the possibility of straining yourself out even more.
Say you sprained your ankle, the first step using the PRICE therapy is to wear an ankle support to protect your ankle. Seeing that the muscles are strained, we wouldn’t want to utilize that particular muscle group, hence, using crutches or minimizing the usage of the ankle would definitely help in recovering. Thereafter, icing the affected area for 15-20 minutes can aid in reducing swells. Another technique in reducing swells is to compress it – this is when the compression sleeves come into play. Last but not least, it is best to keep the injured body part above the heart if possible.
The last thing you’d want is to take extra time off after some day offs for therapy, so the rehabilitation process is another crucial point where you would have to be mindful of the things you do when you’re ready to get back on track. You’d want to start with a lighter weight than usual & slowly build up to your usual weight. This is to ensure that you don’t pull/strain your muscles again.