It’s hard to believe that we are coming into fall now! But seeing the seasons change is always exciting and there’s always great things to do in fall (like hiking in the Kettle Moraine). If you’re like me, you want to stay active even as it gets cooler outside and don’t want your fitness goals derailed. This article is for all those active people (gym or no gym) to help you stay active and keep you working out without pain. Follow these tips to stay injury free and get a jumpstart on your fitness before all the Christmas cookies…
Avoid overhead movements. We see a lot of people that begin to have shoulder pain and it is likely due to the rotator cuff “wearing out”. These people get pain with overhead movements because it impinges the shoulder joint (simply put, the shoulder joint gets jammed together and sends a pain signal). If you notice that you are starting to get some shoulder pain with your everyday activities, avoid overhead movements such as shoulder presses. This will only exacerbate the issue and make the pain worse.
Watch that knee alignment. This fault is VERY common with moves such as squats and lunges where the knee is moving too far forward and moving over the toes. It’s important that the knee stays behind the toes. This also keeps the weight centered more on the heels and works the quads more effectively. If the knee is coming too far forward, it puts a lot of additional strain on the knee joint and can lead to quite a bit of pain at the knees. If you notice that your knees feel achy after a workout, chances are your form wasn’t ideal and next time, assess your alignment to make sure you are doing them correctly.
Keep your back flat with planks. Ever see the person doing a plank and their low back is sagging in? Well, that’s not a good thing and can lead to low back pain or exacerbate the issue if you have a history of low back pain. The ideal form is having a flat or neutral back so there is no sagging but also no butt up in the air. Practice in front of a mirror so you can see how your form is. And remember to draw the belly button in towards the spine like you are zipping up tight pants. This will help you keep a good posture during the exercise. If you are holding a plank and after alittle bit of time you notice that it’s very hard for you to not sag at the low back, then stop there because that means your core muscles are tired and not giving you the support you need for the proper form.
Work within your comfort level. Everyone has a different fitness level and what works for one person doesn’t work for everyone. It’s important that you recognize your body’s limits and try to work within them. When people try to do something that is much more difficult than they can tolerate, that’s when injuries occur. It’s not a competition because everyone is at different stages and that’s okay. Do what works for you and you will be on the right path to avoiding injuries and pain.
If you’re currently having pain during your workout, don’t try to wait it out. Have it looked at by a skilled physical therapist to determine what the issue is and get it resolved quickly so you can get back to the gym without pain. If you’re in the Milwaukee area or Hales Corners, feel free to send me an email at Brenda@Revitalize-PT.com and I’d be happy to sit down with you and talk about your issues.