Tips to avoid exercise injury, in fairness, we must admit that the initial hurdles of starting to exercise, then getting into shape, cannot be overcome without some degree of physical exertion and subsequent muscular discomfort but not serious exercise injury.
Exercise and Injury – The Harsh Truth About Body Conditioning
To that extent, we suppose, exercise really is work, especially if you are currently overweight or happen to be coming off a very low fitness base. And though we definitely do not agree with the "no pain, no gain" school of thought, this post exercise discomfort is a price that must be paid at least for a while by anyone who is not already fit, yet would like to become so.
The reason for this is that conditioning takes place on a muscular level through an ongoing process of damage, repair, and rebuilding. When you exercise strenuously but properly, the fibers that compose your working muscles develop slight tears that aren't significant enough to cause real injury but do cause short-term soreness and fatigue.
If you've done things right and haven't pushed yourself too far, those torn fibers will mend during the intervals of rest between exercise sessions and, in fact, come back stronger and more resilient than before. In technical terms, this is what is known as the conditioning effect. For those who wish to attain an acceptable level of fitness and then simply maintain it, the early discomfort associated with exercise will gradually diminish, and ultimately fade altogether once the muscles have adapted fully to the demands routinely placed on them.
But for those who wish to build fitness to optimal levels, the cycle of increasingly strenuous exercise, followed by muscle fatigue and soreness, followed by rest and recovery, will be more or less constant until a level of peak conditioning has been reached. Since the conditioning effect, of necessity, requires that you push certain muscles to the threshold of their present strength and endurance in order to build or improve fitness, the risk of suffering an injury is always just around the corner.
At low levels of muscular stress, such as a short, brisk walk or a brief spin on an exercise bike, this risk is obviously very minimal. You're more likely to injure yourself grievously on a walk by tripping over a sidewalk crack or getting' hit by a car, for example, than by anything you'll do during the exercise itself. More arduous activities, though, hold the potential for exercise injury, everything from minor strains and sprains, to serious problems like exercise-induced asthma and even heart failure. We don't say this to scare you, but facts are facts.
Anyone who has ever participated in a charity "fun run" has probably signed a form stating that they understand that the health risks of their 3-mile jog in the park include such unsavory possibilities as heart attack, stroke, broken bones, respiratory problems, and death, to mention just a few. That language, friends, is in there because such unpleasant events, though uncommon, actually occur on rare occasions. Fortunately, though, the long-term health benefits of exercise far outweigh the largely avoidable risks and exercise injury that accompany it.
Avoid Exercise Injury
Updated October 19, 2011