It is that time of year again, getting chilly out and muscles are taking longer to warm up. Make sure you are doing at least 10 minutes of cardio before hitting the weights and drink up H2O to help avoid these common mishaps.
Injuries, such as sprains and strains, can happen to anyone, even to careful weight lifters. Depending on how severe your injury is, the time of recovery can range from a couple of days to a few months. You should see your doctor if an injury persists for more than a few days or if the pain is excruciating and troublesome. You can limit the severity of an injury and speed up your recovery time by stopping an exercise as soon as you feel pain. Continuing to work out can cause further damage to the area, making the injury worse and prolonging the recovery period.
Sprain A sprain is a tear in your ligaments, which are strong bands of connective tissue found around joints, such as your wrists, elbows and knees. Although typically avoidable, sprains are caused mainly by trauma. If you suffer from a sprain, you will feel immediate pain in the affected joint, which may appear red, swollen and bruised. You will also experience limited movement in the injured joint.
Strain A strain is a tear of a muscle or tendon. Strains can be caused by lifting extremely heavy weight, by not warming up before exercising or by stretching beyond your limits. If you suffer from a strain, you will feel an immediate, sharp pain in your muscles. The affected area may become swollen, red and painful to move.
Overuse injuries An overuse injury usually starts as a slight pain felt after exercising, but the pain gradually becomes worse over time, until the affected area hurts all the time. This type of injury is most commonly an inflammation of a tendon or bursa, caused by the overuse of a muscle group or a certain repetitive movement.
Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) About 24 to 48 hours after your workout, you may feel tightness or soreness in your muscles. This muscle pain is referred to as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) and is common after a hard workout, especially if you are a beginner or if you haven't exercised in a while. DOMS is not an injury, but is a result of microscopic tears that occur in the muscles when they are exerted, allowing the muscles to regenerate and grow larger and stronger. The soreness normally peaks about 48 hours after exercising and dissipates within a few days. If the soreness lasts more than a few days or becomes wors, you should see a doctor.
To help prevent injuries 1. You should perform about 5 minutes of cardiovascular exercise before each workout to warm up your muscles and to increase blood circulation.
2. Remember to train gradually. You should take note of the weight you are lifting, increase the weight gradually and avoid using more weight than your body is capable of handling.
3. Try to always maintain proper form. You can place excessive stress on your joints by placing your body in incorrect positions.
4. Work all major muscle groupsd to preven muscle imbalances.
5. Remember to stretch between sets and at the end of your workout.
6. Do not work the same muscle two days in a row. You should give your muscles time to recover.
Overcoming injuries Minor strains and sprains can be treated with rest, ice, compression and elevation, commonly referred to as RICE. RICE is most effective when you start treatment immediately after suffering an injury.
REST Resting reduces the stress on the affected area and prevents further aggravation of the injury. It also helps minimize internal bleeding or swelling. Before working the affected area, you should wait until you have had at least two pain-free days. Make sure you start up slowly when you begin exercising again.
ICE Using ice on the affected area helps reduce the pain and swelling. You can ice the injured area for about 15 to 20 minutes, 3 to 4 times a day. Continue to apply ice on the affected area for as long as pain and swelling are present.
COMPRESSION Placing pressure on the injured area can help keep the swelling to a minimum. You can use an elastic bandage or purchase a special brace or wrap for your wrist, knee or elbow. Wrap the bandage tight enough to feel tension, but not too firmly that you cut off blood circulation.
ELEVATION You should keep the injured area elevated. Elevating the area reduces the blood flow and drains fluids and waste products away, which helps reduce the swelling of the injured area.