By Pedro Sun, CSCS, Catalyst Personal Trainer
The more active you are, the higher your risk for injury. You may be one of those people who ask yourself “why me?” Is there a way to decrease your injury risk? Fortunately for you, there is, and after reading this article you’ll hopefully have an “ah ha” moment. Here are the three main culprits behind injuries, and you can avoid them.
Overtraining is defined by constant intense training without allowing for adequate rest and recovery. When you’re training for a competition or trying to lose weight, it can be difficult at times to know when to pull back, especially when your body continues to do the work you ask of it. Some signs of overtraining are chronic muscle soreness, persistent fatigue, decreased performance, getting sick more often, minor aches and pains that turn into that turn into chronic injuries, loss of appetite, and weight loss. If you begin noticing any of these signs, you should consider getting into a more structured program with a trainer, or become more mindful of when your body is telling you to slow down.
2. Exercising Without a Program
When we exercise, we create stress on our bodies. Stress fractures, sprains and strains, knee pain, shoulder pain, etc. are all stress-related injuries. Exercise programming is the art of finding out how much stress our bodies can handle, and not giving it anymore. This goes for the muscles, ligaments, tendons, cardiovascular system, etc. When you’re programming effectively, you utilize objective data to scale back when signs of overtraining arise, and to monitor your gains. Programming can also help you progressively overload your body so that improvement can occur with minimal injuries or none at all. So the saying “train smarter, not harder” applies here.
3. Strength Training
Misconceptions about strength training are common, particularly in the endurance athlete community and general public. Strength training is not bodybuilding, and does not make you “bulky”. Strength training is used to reduce your risk of injury, and make you stronger for your sport and tasks of everyday life (squatting down, bending over, cooking with heavy pans, reaching for something heavy overhead). Although popular magazines are writing more articles about strength training, they don’t give enough information. Strength training isn’t just doing a circuit and adding some weights. In my experience, many endurance athletes love the high intensity circuits since it gives them the same euphoria as racing. This is good for general fitness, but if you are a seasoned endurance athlete this may not have much effect. When programmed correctly, strength training should “improve strength” which translates to better performance for everyone – the mom lifting her baby daily, the marathoner wanting to pick up the pace, and the older adult wanting to safely step off a high curb.
Consider your own injuries – do any of these three reasons come to mind? If you need some help understanding overtraining, proper programming, or strength training, let us know. Our Catalyst trainers want to help you stay injury-free and reach your goals!