Why do we get injured after Exercise
Recently I met a friend, she’s a couple of years younger than me (early 40’s) and a retired professional athlete. We always end up discussing why she keeps getting injured (occupational hazard as a physiotherapist).
The conversation rang true for many patients I see. Often women, often with kids, trying to get exercise back in their lives. This maybe running, tennis, cycling or even Zumba, and finding that they keep getting injuries whilst exercising, which results in them having to take time out.
Not only is this frustrating, but then the little time they do have to exercise is then spent doing boring rehab exercises. As soon as they feel better, they get back to the exercise that they love and then stop the boring rehab exercises to find that they get ANOTHER INJURY!!
As women, moms and workers we have busy lives and often exercise is our main outlet or ‘me time’. Unlike the days BEFORE KIDS, when we could spend 2 hours in the gym or 6 hours a week training for the marathon we’ve always wanted to do.
Nowadays AFTER KIDS we have to squeeze in the odd run here or dash to a class. Exercise is ‘on the go’ sandwiched in a tight schedule of everything else you need to do!
Whatever the exercise of choice; running, tennis, cycling or even Zumba women need their weekly fix of ‘me time’.
So how do you break this vicious cycle of injury?
The important rules for keeping injury free are:
- To be strong enough to cope with the demands of the exercise. The demands maybe running further or playing more tennis or going on a Zumba weekend.
- A Strength exercise programme needs to be part of your life and the trick is to get into a routine and KEEP DOING IT!
- The exercises of choice need to address the muscles that you want to work. So to stop your Achilles pain you need to work on those calf muscles, to address that lower back pain after running you need to work on your core.
- You may need a little help to work out what’s the best programme. You are not expected to be a master at gym programmes to ask for help! It’s so worth it!
Your body needs to build up specific strength to be able to cope with the demands of sport. If we want to play 3 tennis games a week then we need our shoulders to be strong enough to cope with that.
If we want to do lots of jumping in Zumba we need to strengthen our calf muscles to be able to take that impact. So, when there is a mismatch of strength to the load needed then we are likely to injure ourselves.
In other words, you are making yourself robust to exercise. This is a process that takes a bit of time (up to 6 weeks) and takes perseverance; but when you start to feel the benefits of strength then you will become a convert… I will guarantee that!
What does robustness look like?
Strengthening exercises can take many different forms:
The exercises need to be resistance based so you need to feel that you’ve worked your muscles. If you are working hard then you will do it less often. If you are working more gently then you can perform the exercises more frequently.
We have a number of routines on our Vlogs that can get you started. I would always recommend that you get a personalised programme, to get an idea of what you need to do and how hard you can work. It’s hard to know if you haven’t done it before.
Finally as you become more robust, you will see that your injuries become less frequent. If you do suffer a setback it will take less time to recover. It’s a WIN WIN!!!