This blog was written by Mara Winters. Meet our blogging fitness specialists at the NIFS website.
Fitness fanatics have all been there. You are so excited about working out, living the diehard active life. Who can give up running, aerobics classes, racquetball, and all the other fitness fun? Then you hear it, that voice that says, “This twinge you have had isn’t going anywhere.”
You know you feel aches but you ignore it. Nothing can keep you down. Not even a small limp on your right side. Soon you may feel that discomfort increasing and regret not listening to your body. If you feel pain (different from soreness) lasting more than five minutes after a workout session, or you have to alter your gait to complete an exercise, this may suggest you have sustained an injury.
There are visual indicators of injury, in which exercise should be stopped immediately. Swelling, discoloration, broken bones, or dislocations are causes for ceasing an activity.
While it can be a letdown, activity should be modified until the symptoms of the injury dissipate. This allows the body to heal and prevents further injury. Rehabilitation exercise and light limbering activity are acceptable during this time. Recovery times may vary depending on the severity of the injury.
As a corporate fitness trainer, I understand that people who enjoy physical activities are not thrilled to sit out for a while. Trust me, rest is the best. People who sustain reoccurring or overuse injuries usually don’t allow time for healing. Bones, ligaments, and muscles all need time to rebuild, which will make them stronger.
Another way to keep enjoying your favorite activity is to prevent injury altogether by doing the following:
- Wearing protective equipment when necessary.
- Avoiding overtraining. Vary your high-intensity exercise sessions throughout the week and give your body time to rest.
- Always warming up before exercise and cooling down after workouts.
- Cross-training to strengthen bones and muscles.
- Building skills required for your favorite activity. For example, if you enjoy skiing, hiking, or surfing, you may want to add balance exercises to your training.
- Eating a healthy diet rich in nutrients, vitamins, and minerals to build a healthy body.
Always listen to your body. Know what discomfort you can work through but also know when you need to take some time to rest.