The official start to Spring is just days away and with it comes spring training. For some of us that means races and triathlons and for others it means golf, baseball, softball and tennis. Whatever your sport or activity, enjoying the warm Spring air and getting your body moving after the long, cold winter may be what you’re looking forward to the most.
Increased activity can bring injury – and while there is no such thing as injury “prevention”, there are measures you can take to reduce your risk of injury. Reducing risk is mostly about planning and timing. You want to give your body ample time to adapt. Your risk of injury goes up when you make sudden large changes in activity or load over a short period of time.
Check out these tips to help you enjoy and injury-free season:
- Don’t increase more than 10% a week. Don’t increase overall work capacity more than 10% whether you are training distance, or weight increase in strength training.
- 4-6 runs a week is optimal, more frequent runs are better than less frequent longer runs.
- Your shorter runs through the week should total more miles than your longest run
- If you have pain during activity, stop and reset, then try again. If you have pain again, you should finish for the day.
- If you have pain after your workout or the next day, don’t increase your miles/weight/repetitions until you are performing that day’s workout WITHOUT symptoms.
- Get enough sleep! If you aren’t getting enough sleep, your risk of injury increases significantly. You should be getting at least 8 hours.
- If you are taking anti-inflammatory medication to avoid/reduce muscle soreness your risk of injury is actually going UP. Inflammation is very necessary for healing and NSAIDs interrupt that process so you sacrifice long term gains as well as increase your risk of a muscle strain or tendinopathy. The soreness you felt is your body’s way of limiting you so it has time to adapt to the forces you are asking it to handle. Listen to your body!
- Your body systems adapt at different rates. Your cardiovascular system may adapt more quickly than your bones, muscles, joints and ligaments. Be willing to change your program to give your body more time to adapt.
- Remember, the point of exercise is to be fun and to keep you out of the doctor’s office, not put you into it!
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Samuel S. Spillman, DC