Overstress injuries are incredibly common, and as the name implies, they occur when we put too much acute or repetitive stress on a certain area of your body. One of the more common times for an overstress injury to develop is when we try to take on a greater physical challenge than we normally do. Since most athletes are always working to push themselves farther or harder in order to set new personal bests, how can you ensure that you avoid these overstress injuries when trying to take on a greater physical challenge? In today’s blog, we share some tips for how you can safely increase your exercise duration or intensity without greatly increasing your risk of an injury.
Safely Setting Personal Records
If you’re hoping to squat a personal best or run your first marathon this fall, we want to start off by saying congratulations on taking on this new challenge. It’s not going to be easy, but we know that all your hard work will pay off in the end, so long as you can avoid an injury along the way. Here are some PT-approved tips for safely increasing your activity levels in order to achieve your physical goals without increasing your risk of an overstress injury.
- Gradual Increases – If you normally run two miles and want to work your way up towards a half marathon, don’t try to run seven miles right away. You need to slowly and steadily increase your distance, otherwise you’ll be exposing yourself to an overstress injury. The same can be said for weightlifting or any exercise routine at the gym. Set a goal and slowly work your way up towards it. Taking on too much stress too quickly is a recipe for an overstress injury, so take your time.
- Work With A PT – A physical therapist can be an incredible resource for helping you achieve your lofty workout goals. Helping patients hit their goals is what we do best. Whether it’s an athlete looking to work back to top form after injury or helping a patient safely return home following a surgical procedure, we assess your strengths and deficits and cultivate a care plan that helps you progress towards your end goal. We can do the same for you based on your personal goals. Another way that working with a physical therapist can help you safely take on bigger physical challenges is through form assessment. If your running form is a little inefficient or your lifting form isn’t quite ideal, you could be exposing yourself to injury, especially when taking on greater challenges. We are professionally trained to spot inefficiencies in your form and also have a range of high-tech devices that can break down your form to see things that are difficult to assess with the naked eye. Let us help improve your form so that your body can handle the additional stress that you plan to put on it.
- Rest/Crosstrain – In order for your body to be able to handle increased levels of stress, you need to give it enough time to heal from the rigors of activity. If you’re running every day, your body may be more likely to succumb to overstress injuries because microtrauma never has the chance to fully heal. We understand that you want to achieve your goals as fast as possible, but not giving your body time to heal can actually prolong the process. If you’re one of those people who simply can’t go a day without some sort of specific exercise, work in some cross training exercises that focus on other areas of your body. If you went for a run one day, do some yoga or medicine ball exercises the next. Don’t always stress the same muscle groups, otherwise your risk for injury will increase.
We want you to take on greater physical challenges and hit your exercise goals, and we know that an injury can be devastating to your progress. Don’t let an overstress injury keep you from setting that personal best. If you’d like professional help hitting your next exercise goal, reach out to the team at OrthoRehab Specialists today at (612) 339-2041.