5 min read. Written by Shirouz Elango
It’s finally 2022! For some, getting fit would be high on the list of priorities—especially after two years of lockdowns, restrictions and work-from-home stints. While it may be tempting to get back straight into the grind, you also risk incurring serious injuries that can ultimately prevent you from being active.
Find out why injury prevention is important, especially after a long break, and how you can safely increase your activity level to prevent injuries.
Why Is Injury Prevention Important?
Injuries happen when we do more than our body is capable of, either due to excessive physical activity, or improper techniques that may overload our muscles.
Exercising is a form of physical stress on our bodies. When we engage in any sports or activity, we create micro-tears in our muscle fibres that heal, making them grow, and making us stronger. This is why we are able to endure more and push ourselves harder as we get used to exercising.
When we stop exercising for an extended period of time, our fibres weaken, and our muscles become frail with lesser activity. This decreases our range of motion and accumulates stress. In turn, we risk exposing ourselves to injuries that don’t just hinder our progress but may have more long-term side effects.
Common Injuries To Watch Out For
Exerting yourself after a long time can be dangerous. Here are some common types of injuries that you risk experiencing.
Sprains and strains: According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, sprains and strains are among the most common sports injuries. These can occur during almost any type of physical activity.
Sprains refer to ligaments that are overstretched or torn. Strains are less severe, occurring when our muscles or tendons are overused or inflamed from repeated use. Both may cause pain, swelling, and in extreme cases, restricted range of motion.
Fractures: Fractures are a type of traumatic injury on the bones. They may result from specific events, such as a collision or fall, or due to repeated stress on the bone such as jumping. This type of injury requires immediate medical attention and may require surgery and physiotherapy sessions in order to restore the full range of motion as well as to strengthen the area.
Inflammation: This is a broad term that refers to repeated damage to our tissues, mainly through overuse and repetitive motion. Some examples of inflammation injuries are tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, or bursitis.
Dislocations: Common in contact sports, dislocations happen when the bones in a joint move out from their place in the socket. This type of injury requires immediate attention and may result in further complications if the tissue surrounding the joint is affected. To prevent this from happening, proper form during exercises and strengthening important structures of our body’s joints is essential.
3 Tips for Injury Prevention
As the adage goes, prevention is better than cure. Here are some guidelines you can follow to have a safe and injury-free workout.
Always Warm Up and Stretch
Don’t underestimate the power of a good warm-up and stretching session, before and after your workouts! This is a vital step in your training especially if you’re just restarting your fitness. Aside from preventing injuries, it’s proven that warming up helps to increase blood flow in our body, makes us more flexible, and ensures a faster recovery time, especially after intense sessions in the gym.
The New Year makes us feel as if we’re starting on a brand new slate, making us more motivated than usual. We may be spurred on to go all out in our routines. For some of us, this is a recipe for injury or burnout.
Consider starting off with low-intensity exercises instead, especially if you have not been active for some time, or have a health condition. These types of exercises such as walking, swimming or, cycling on a stationary bike generally have a low impact on our body. The pace of the exercises also make them easier to complete and can be easier to stick to over time.
Listen to Your Body
Let’s leave the notion of ‘No Pain, No Gain’ behind. This year, it should be all about ‘Slow and Steady’.
While it is important to challenge yourself in your workouts, pain during exercise is never normal. If you do feel pain, stop, evaluate, and readjust, or rest if necessary. You’d fare better from taking a step back, rather than pushing through and risking injury. If the pain persists, you may need to consult with a professional to seek treatment.
Prevent Injuries, And Keep On Track With Your Goal
With our simple and preventative approach to exercise, you can ensure that you remain injury-free, and on track to achieving your resolutions.
If you’re looking to find out more about injury prevention measures and rehabilitative services, look no further than Rehab & Beyond. Our therapists specialise in sports injury management, post-surgery physiotherapy and preventative therapy, working towards helping you enjoy your favourite sport or exercise programme to the fullest. Reach out to us today to find out how we can help.
Last Reviewed by Jaden Lim on 13/02/2022