Avoiding Injury During Exercise

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How do I avoid injuries when I am exercising?

Avoiding Injury During Exercise

Some of the most common injuries associated with exercise are:

* muscle strain
* sprains
* stress fractures
* pain

"Muscle strain" occurs when the muscle is stretched beyond its normal range. Though the tissue is not torn, the muscle fibers respond to the injury with inflammation, edema and pain.

"Sprain" occurs when muscle fibers, ligaments or tendons are torn, due to over-exertion, or abnormal movements in a joint. A sprain also produces localized inflammation, edema and pain, and may take a considerable amount of time to heal.

"Stress fractures" are the product of repeated stress, pounding (as in running) or repetitive stops and starts. Small cracks occur in the bones subject to the stress and pounding, causing inflammation and pain.

"Pain" is not a normal product of exercise. Though some vague muscle soreness may occur with some types of exercise, pain is an indication of injury, and may be the result of bruising, strains, sprains, fractures, or edema. The phrase "no pain, no gain" is not accurate or healthy.

There are, however, some things that you can do to decrease your risk of injury while exercising:

1. Warm up before exercise - stretching and
walking are good ways to warm up your
muscles in preparation for more
strenuous exercise.
2. Cool down after exercise - doing some
gentle stretches, less strenous exercise
or walking after exercise will reduce
the risk of injury associated with
sudden changes in activity level.
Cooling down allows your body to relax
before moving on to a new activity.
3. Listen to your body. If you begin to
have pain, pull back or slow down. Pain
is an indication that injury may be
4. Start slow and work up - exercise
requires some adaptation by your body.
Starting slow allows your body to
accommodate the changes that exercise
5. Talk to your doctor - some exercise
regimes may not be recommended based on
your health or condition. Your doctor
can help you determine in a particular
exercise is right for you.

The benefits of exercise are unquestionable, however exercising without injury requires effort, as well, to get the best out of your body and the most benefits out of your exercise.



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