Every Thursday, Svveat Stories tackles your most pressing fitness questions—this week, chiropractor and Nike+ Run Club coach Brittany Moran explains how to incorporate injury prevention into your active lifestyle.
I’m a recreational athlete, but for the past year it seems like every time I recover from one injury another one emerges. Is my mom right—is this a sign that I’m getting old and it’s time to hang up my running shoes? Say it ain’t so!
— Impossibly Injury-Prone
Don’t despair, Injury-Prone.
Maintaining an active lifestyle is one of the best things you can do for your health. But with an active lifestyle there is a risk of injury, so I’m going to give you some tips to help prevent them from occurring.
- Mobility—do it! By this I do not mean holding stretches for the classic 30 seconds, but rather keeping the movements active. I highly recommend active, isolated stretches, meaning holding any stretch for one second and repeating 10 times. There is also a benefit to holding stretches for one minute or more, as you would in yoga.
- Warm up. The warm-up is a part of the workout that is often skipped due to time constraints, but it is very important. It’s what eases our bodies out of desk jockey mode and into athletic rock stars. Keep your warm-up dynamic and in line with the activity you’re about to do.
- Change up your routine. Try to challenge your body in many ways. If you’re like me, focused on one activity, make sure to do supportive strength work to make you better. I think one area most people can improve on, and all athletes need, is a strong core. Here are a few of my favourite core exercises: plank for 10-seconds, repeat 4-6 times; side plank for 10-seconds each side, repeat 4-6 times; bird-dog for 10-seconds each side, repeat 4-6 times.
- Alternate your shoes. Everyone wants an excuse to buy new shoes, and here it is! A recent study found that runners who had more than one pair of shoes on rotation (even if it was the same shoe model) were less likely to get injured.
- Hydrate. Staying hydrated is critical and it can sometimes be forgotten during the cold winter months. Here’s a formula to help you figure out just how much water your active lifestyle requires: 0.5-1.0 x body weight (lbs.) = ounces of fluid per day (dependent on intensity of activity).
- Sleep more. Insufficient sleep is a huge risk factor for injuries and it’s something we can control. So turn the Netflix off and GO TO BED! Ideally, eight hours is best.
- Don’t neglect recovery. One thing I find with recreational athletes is they end up doing hard workouts back-to-back or on too many days of the week. Allowing yourself ample recovery time will maximize your workout gains.
- Fuel up. When you’re working hard and burning calories, you need to make sure you’re replenishing them mindfully. Try to choose healthy calories that will nourish your body and fuel your next workout.
- Increase your exercise load gradually. Another common injury for athletes is overuse, from doing too much too soon. This is easy to avoid by only adding a little more exercise each week and, as mentioned above, not working out at your all-out intensity every day.
- Nip it in the bud. Lastly, if you’re feeling a niggle (the technical term for the beginning of an injury/pain) every time you do a certain activity, despite your attempts to stretch and recover, get it checked out before it escalates and sidelines you.
If you have any further questions about your exercise routine, feel free to contact me at email@example.com.
Have a fitness question you’d like us to answer? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or ask us in the comments below.