Can you hurt yourself working out? Absolutely. Poor form, poor instruction, weaknesses, imbalances, working with too heavy a weight, trying to keep up with a friend or your workout partner, etc. But what can sideline you more quickly than running with your speedy neighbor is what you do simply living your life.
It’s the “I’ll just carry all 6 grocery bags into the house in one trip”, picking up the football and cold-throwing a pass to your 10 year old, or the “hey honey, can you grab that off the top shelf” reaching and pulling down of a heavy object. Soemtimes it’s the 8 mile hike with your friend with the steep inclines and declines that your body is ill-prepared for. And then there’s our phones and computers.
Luckily there are some things we can do to help prepare/recover from our workouts and also our Weekend Warrior activities to help keep our bodies healthy.
- Before coaching soccer, picking up that football and yelling at your kid to “go long” or doing some serious gardening take a few minutes to warm up your muscles. Simple arm circles, a few forward folds and a brisk 5 minute walk will get the blood flowing and your body primed for the task to come.
- If you are going to be doing a lot of stop/start movements in your activity, extend your warm up walk and add in some lateral (side) leg movements and some swinging of your legs front to back.
- I find that people have a serious block against using a foam roller but if this was the one thing that you did on a consistent basis, you would eliminate/prevent a lot of problems. The purpose of the foam roller is to apply gentle pressure and get movement of the fascia. Fascia is a layer of “netting” that sits between your skin and muscles. By applying this pressure with movement helps to break any adhesions. These we call “sticky spots”.
- Foam rolling also aids in muscle recovery by helping to keep muscles loose. If you are sore from leg day at the gym or a long run, you should spend 15 minutes with yoru foam roller.
- The foam roller I recommend for beginners is a plain 36″ long white roller. (https://www.amazon.com/ProSource-Half-Round-Physical-Exercises-Stabilization/dp/B00EDTEIAM/ref=sr_1_40?dchild=1&keywords=foam+roller&qid=1622222832&sr=8-40)
- If you are consistent with the foam rolling you can upgrade to one that’s harder but don’t start with a dense roller because if it hurts you won’t do it.
- Our bodies are amazing. Our hips are designed to move freely in the socket. Our knees are designed to bend so that you can get your butt close to the ground in a squat. Your shoulders are designed to be able to reach straight up above your head. Many of us, due to an injury, buildup of scar tissue, strains, tears and lack of attention to the after-care of our workouts, prevent us from being us are unable to do these simple movements.
- If you google “mobility exercises” you can find a ton of resources. The Ready State and Alexandra Ellis are two that I highly recommend and they are also on Facebook. Brad and Bob are physical therapists with a loyal following on YouTube and Facebook.
The bottom line is that you need to take the time to take care of your body. Whether you are training for a marathon or playing golf with your buddies once every 6 months.
Now go run!