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How to prevent online workout injuries

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While gyms and studios remain closed, those of us wanting to workout are turning to online workouts to keep us in shape. The benefit of online workouts are the sheer volume or workouts to choose from. There is no way to get bored considering that at any moment there are literally hundreds of workouts to choose from. The downside to working out online is the lack of personal instruction and on demand feedback. This can often lead to improper technique and form, lack of proper workout structure and ultimately pain and injury. Here are some of the common injuries to keep in mind when working out and tips on how to prevent them.

Bruises and Bumps

These, very common, injuries are often the result of improper planning and poor preparation. Before your workout take the time to set up your space. Ensure that you have adequate space for the movements involved with the type of workout  you will be doing. For example, if working out in your basement pay attention to the ceiling height. If your workout includes jumping  or skipping, make sure you have adequate clearance to avoid bumping your head. If doing a floor workout,  make certain  you have a cushioned mat  with good grip, for support and comfort. Carpet may be soft, but carpet burn is no fun. Also, sweat on a carpet or other type of flooring can cause slippery and dangerous conditions. Lastly,  there should be at least 2 feet of free space around your mat to provide adequate room various exercises.

Slips and Falls

Proper footwear is essential especially when working out at home to avoid slips and falls but also to provide adequate support and cushioning. The tendency may be to wear no shoes when indoors, but supportive footwear is important to help maintain stability and balance. Ankle sprains, the most common injury from working out, are often the result of improper footwear. Running shoes should have arch support which will help with ankle stability and heel cushioning to help minimize the compression of joints especially during high intensity interval training.

Low back pain

Considering most of us sit for approximately 11 hours a day, lower back pain is a common complaint. Sitting leads to compression of the spine and can cause muscle stiffness and joint restrictions.  When working out it is important to focus on proper technique in order to avoid added pressure to the spine.   If you do experience back pain during a particular exercise stop and re-assess your technique and posture. If pain continues, stop the exercise and try stretching instead. Childs pose is a great stretch aimed to help relieve back tension while lying on back and pulling your knees up to your chest also release muscle tension around the spine.

Whether you are doing a cardio or weight workout, stretching should be part of your cool down. 

Repetitive Muscle Injuries 

It is important to mix up your workouts by cross training. You want to avoid utilizing the same muscles and joints by repeating the same exercises daily. Knee sprains, rotator cuff injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome are examples of repetitive strain injuries. If you are doing a workout heavy in weights on Monday, then you may want to do a cardio workout on Tuesday, followed by a flexibility workout on Wednesday. Also consider trying indoor and outdoor activities to allow your body to adapt to working out in various environments and on different surfaces. Rest days are also important to give your body time to recover. Give your body at least 24 hours between workouts.

Muscle Spasms and Cramps

Stretching is an essential part to any workout but is often forgotten. It improves joint range of motion as well as increases circulation to muscles. It is this increase in blood flow to muscles that prevents muscle tightness and post workout cramping. 

The are many types of stretching  and knowing what type of stretching to do and when is equally as important as stretching itself.  Before a workout dynamic stretching, which involves active stretches aimed towards preparing the body for activity, should be done. Lunges with an upper body twist, running in the spot with high knees are a couple of examples of dynamic stretches which will increase your heart rate and muscle circulation. Post workout, static stretching, which is stretching while holding a posture, improves flexibility and can help cool the body done after a workout. 

More Knowledge: You might also enjoy this insightful article on how to time your nutrient intake for when you exercise.

Author: Dr. Nekessa Remy is a regular contributor to Optimyz Magazine and is a chiropractor, a registered and medical acupuncturist and one of Canada’s fastest rising and sought-after health and wellness experts in the industry today. She is the current owner of Mississauga’s The Chiropractic Office, a comprehensive injury management clinic focused on sports-related injuries and woman’s health issues. She also runs a practice in downtown Toronto at Integra Health Centre where she works amongst other leaders in the healthcare field.


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