Regular exercise is one of the best things you can do for your health, but a workout routine is also one of the most common sources of injury for many people. Muscle strains and soft tissue injuries are all too common when we’re pushing our bodies during a workout routine, but many people don’t realize that they may be making some mistakes during their workout that could be increasing their risk of injury. In today’s blog, we take a closer look at five workout mistakes you might be making that could be elevating your injury risk.
Exercise Mistakes That Can Lead To Injury
If you’re doing any of these five things before, during or after your workout, you should consider adjusting your routine, because you may be unknowingly increasing your risk of injury.
- Failing To Stretch – You don’t expect your car to go from 0 to 60 mph as soon as you start it up, and you shouldn’t just dive into a physically demanding workout routine without first easing into activity. Do some dynamic stretching for 5-10 minutes prior to your workout to help your muscles transition from a resting to an active state. This will help ensure they can better handle the stress that will soon be put upon them.
- Not Going Sideways – When you think about your workout routine, odds are you’re either working on a stationary machine or you’re moving forward, like if you’re running, walking, swimming, cycling or doing lunges. These are all great ways to exercise, but if you’re not also incorporating exercises that move you laterally, you’re only improving 50 percent of certain muscle groups. Be sure to add some lateral lunges or do some lateral footwork drills so that your hips and core are tested moving in different directions other than just forward.
- Doing The Same Daily Routine – When you find a workout routine that works for you, especially if it’s one you enjoy, it can be easy to fall into the habit of doing the exact same exercises day in and day out. After all, as long as you’re exercising, you’re doing good by your body, right? The problem with this mindset is that you may end up overdeveloping certain muscle groups and overlooking others, which leads to muscle imbalance. If your hamstrings are strong but your quadriceps are weak because your workout routine targets one and overlooks the other, you’ll be at a heightened risk for injury during physical activity. Vary your workouts so that different muscle groups are tested and developed.
- Overdoing It – Regular exercise is important, but you can have too much of a good thing. If you’re working out for a couple hours every day or you’re constantly pushing yourself to run further or lift heavier weights, you could be putting too much stress on your body too quickly. Overstress injuries are the most common types of workout injury that we see, and oftentimes they are caused by too much activity in a short period of time or activity that is simply too intense for the body to handle. Listen to your body and know that rest can actually make your next workout more efficient, so don’t be afraid to give yourself some time off.
- Poor Form – Regardless of your experience level in the gym, it’s easy to fall into bad habits when it comes to form. Novices may not understand how to perform certain exercises correctly, while more experienced members may see their form slip as they take on more weight or try to perform more repetitions. To ensure your form isn’t putting yourself at a heightened risk for injury, connect with a personal trainer or a physical therapist. We can help show you how exercises should be performed and make some simple adjustments to reduce your injury risk.
For help with any of the above aspects, or for assistance overcoming a workout injury, reach out to the PT team at OrthoRehab Specialists today.