Starting A New Exercise Program? Beware of Overuse Injuries
It’s a new year and that often means new exercise programs. “2022 is the year I’m going to get into shape”, might be a thought that’s crossed your mind in recent weeks. That’s terrific! But, if you’re not careful, the desire to hit the ground (or pavement) running can result in an overuse injury. And that could put you back on the sidelines, perhaps thinking “I guess exercise just isn’t for me.”
Don’t let that happen. There are many things to look out for when it comes to overuse injuries. For starters, exercising for too long or doing too much of one type of exercise can strain muscles and may lead to injury. Technique is also important. While you may have good intentions, if you don’t know the proper way to perform a certain exercise, you may inadvertently injure yourself. “We see it so much during the first quarter of the new year,” said Brett Kindle, M.D., a non-surgical sports medicine specialist at Andrews Institute. “People are trying out a new workout program, which is great to see, but they over-do it and it takes them right back out of their healthy new routine.”
Tips to keep in mind when starting an exercise program include:
- Use proper form and gear
- Seek out instruction from a professional, such as a personal trainer or physical therapist, before beginning a new program. They can show you proper techniques to help you prevent an overuse injury. They’ll also be able to recommend the best types of gear you need at a beginner level.
- Pace yourself
- Motivation at the start of a new year is high but be smart about how you begin the program. Exercising for 30 minutes a day, for instance, is better than only working out on the weekend for longer periods of time.
- Increase your level of activity slowly
- Intensity or duration increases in your program should happen gradually. Trying to increase too soon may lead to injury. A 10% weekly increase in the activity you choose is a good rule of thumb.
- Mix up your routine
- Try not to depend on one type of exercise. Varying your workouts means putting less stress on any one muscle or part of the body. For instance, biking, swimming and jogging or walking within one week would be a great way to utilize various muscle groups and reduce muscle strain.
- Listen to your body
- If you feel pain, don’t assume that’s “part of the process.” Something more significant may be going on. Taking a few days off might be enough to get back to feeling ok. But, if the pain persists, you need to see a professional.
If an injury is keeping you from meeting your New Year’s goals, Andrews Institute can help. We have more than 30 physicians specializing in orthopedics and sports medicine who can help you get back out there as soon as possible. Give us a call at 850.916.8700 or visit AndrewsInstitute.com to schedule an appointment.