It’s just weeks into the New Year and many people are focused on their resolution to exercise and become healthier. But New Year’s resolution enthusiasm to get fit fast can often lead to unwanted injuries.
Brian Snow, MD, a fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine at Medical Center of McKinney, offers tips to keep you on track and prevent workout injuries.
If you haven’t worked out in some time and have resolved to make 2011 the year to get fit, Dr. Snow recommends pacing yourself and increasing your level of activity by about 10 percent every week.
“Some of the more common injuries we see in the New Year when people start going back to the gym are overuse injuries, such as tennis elbow and tendonitis of the rotator cuff caused by weight lifting and repetitive motion exercises, and patella tendonitis (knee cap) caused by aerobics, running or squats.
“People don’t pace themselves, but tend to push through a workout only to experience pain about an hour after they’ve finished. Pain immediately following your workout, or toward the end of a workout, is the first sign of overuse injuries,” he said.
If you begin to experience pain during or immediately following your workout, it’s important to decrease your workout intensity, or take a couple days off to allow your body to heal on its own.
“When you have pain and keep pushing through your workouts, you don’t allow time for your body to heal. That will cause the injury to worsen, and that is when I begin to see patients in my office.”
While we all would like to see the results of our New Year’s resolution evolve quickly, Dr. Snow says it’s important to get past the “no pain, no gain” attitude.
“While some muscle soreness is okay, pain is always an indicator that our body has been pushed too far. You will always achieve better results when you listen to your body and pace yourself appropriately.”
A few tips Dr. Snow offers to help you get fit in 2011 injury free are:
· Start out slowly. Don’t jump in and start with a 10-mile run. Instead start with a 1-mile run the first week and slowly increase distance about 10% every week, or start out slowly on an elliptical trainer in order to get your heart and lungs going and then progress to running.
· Invest in a personal trainer. If you are able, invest in a couple of sessions with a personal trainer. The trainer can help you establish workout routines and provide proper instruction on technique and equipment use.
· Enroll in a class. If you haven’t worked out in some time, enroll in an aerobics or weight-lifting class. These instructor-led classes are beneficial for motivation and in teaching proper techniques.
· Mix up your routine. Overuse injuries can also occur when you do the same workout routine over and over again due to the repetition on the same muscles.