It’s so important to move some way every day! Activity boosts your mood, gets your blood flowing, keeps muscles and bones healthy, and can help prevent some diseases and chronic health problems. It’s a win-win! When you are active, make sure to avoid some of these common pitfalls:
Skipping a Warm-Up
- Before the start of exercise, it is important to perform a warm-up. The warm-up does not need to be lengthy but should be enough to warm up the muscles. Depending on what you will be doing, e.g., resistance training, walking, running, playing sports, etc., you need to increase your blood flow to your muscles and synovial fluid in your joints. You are more likely to injure yourself if you go “all out” doing your activities with cold muscles. Some examples of good active warm-up exercises include light walking, side bends, trunk twists, arm circles, and/or shoulder shrugs. Performing these light activities 5 to 10 minutes should be enough to get the blood flowing through your muscles.
Overuse of Muscles
- It is important to understand that for each muscle, there is a muscle that performs the opposite function. An example of this is the biceps and triceps. The biceps help bend your elbow and the triceps helps to straighten your elbow. If you decide to strengthen your bicep, you should train your triceps equally. This is important because when one becomes stronger, overuse injuries are more likely to occur. This is because the stronger muscle is overused and begins to wear out. To ensure your muscles get properly strengthened, perform your exercise through the full range of the joint. When training your biceps, make sure to almost completely straighten the elbow with a slight flexion then bend your arm up toward your shoulder. This helps to strengthen the joint through the full range.
Training Too Long or Too Frequently
- When exercising, it is important to give your body a break. Performing activities at high level intensities could take up to 48 hours for muscles fibers to heal and benefit from the activities. For low and moderate levels of exercise, it usually requires up to 24 hours for muscles to heal.
- Correct form/posture is one of the most important aspects of exercise. Any exercise could lead to injury if performed incorrectly. Proper form takes a fair amount of mental focus as well as body engagement. It’s important to focus on utilizing all muscles to perform exercises and not just go through the motions. Also, keep your back straight and avoid jerking, fast motions. And, a general rule of thumb is to breathe out when exerting and in when you are not exerting. For example, breath out when pushing up from a push-up and breathe in when returning to the starting positioning. Never hold your breath while exercising. When walking or running, breathe naturally. If you cannot carry on a pretty good conversation while walking or running, slow down a bit.
Doctor of Physical Therapy