Avoiding Sports Injuries
What you need to know to stay safe while exercising
Sports injuries are most often caused by overuse. A key word to remember while working out is moderation. Moderation comes from the Latin word moderatus, which mean to limit extremes.
The general tips here will help you steer clear of common sports injuries.
Preventing Injuries with Rest
Fitness and health may seem to go hand-in-hand. That’s not always true. For example, many marathon runners have ruined their knees by running too many miles, too soon. They may be very fit with low heart rates—40 to 44 beats per minute—which indicates a strong, efficient heart. But they may be hobbling around on a damaged joint. At some point they sacrificed their health to reach a fitness goal.
Most sports injuries are a result of a lack of rest and recovery time. Rest is a key component of any good exercise routine. A smart exercise schedule with rest and easy days is crucial to avoiding injury.
Listening to Your Body
How do you know when to take an easy day? Or maybe a day or two off from exercising altogether? Professional athletes learn to monitor their body. They are in tune with any—however slight—indication of pending injury. When professional endurance athletes feel they are pushing that fine red line, they know injury may be just around the corner.
When you exercise, it's important to constantly monitor your body. “Listen to your body” is the rule. Injury is the price that you may have to pay if you don’t listen.
Exactly how do you listen to your body? When you exercise too hard, you may be getting warning signals. Here are a few possible signs that you may need to ease off or give yourself more recovery time.
- If you are experiencing varying degrees of joint pain, particularly in the lower back and knee areas, ease off on any exercise that may stress these areas.
- Insomnia or an inability to relax can be a sign that you are pushing your body too hard.
- A lack of energy may signal over-exercising.
- Muscle soreness is common when exercising, but pay special attention to areas that are particularly sore over a period of days; don’t stress sore muscles until they are fully recovered.
The Bottom Line
Don’t sacrifice your health for fitness, or to achieve a goal. Pay attention to your body and look for signals that you may be pushing yourself too hard. If you focus on what your body is telling you, you'll avoid most overuse sports injures.