Why do we injure ourselves?
Did we do too much too soon? Did we go beyond our physiological limits? Maybe we have an underlying problem that keeps resurfacing? Maybe there is something going on in our biomechanical bodies that we are not fully aware of or understand. Maybe we have been a consistent exerciser and have been doing the same thing for years? Did you try something new and didn’t really know the basics? Are you a weekend warrior?
Exercise and injury. There are a multitude of possibilities. But I would say in most cases, we have exceeded our tissue’s tolerance. Not a great layperson term, but it kind of summarizes it all into one box.
Our bodies our made of different tissues, and I am speaking very generally from a biomechanical perspective: we have bones, joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments, blood vessels, fascia, skin, and nerves that represent the physical entities that make up our musculoskeletal system, the one that moves our limbs, maintains our posture, allows us to move from one place to another, fidget or reposition, and of course carry out out daily tasks(even sedentary ones) as well as exercise.
We exercise to keep this system primed and ready for action. The less we move, the more limited our movement repertoire becomes. By checking in with your body regularly, responding to and modifying our physical routines, we are more likely to get the balance right.
Exercise and injury. Think about the following :
Consistency of exercise (how regularly do you exercise?)
Volume of exercise (number of repetitions or repeated movements in a session or specified time frame, eg. number of steps in a day)
Impact (high or low impact, which one do you do?)
Range (does your flexibility or available joint movement match what is required for your chosen activity?)
Force or strength requirements (are you loading a tissue too little, just right, or too much? It depends on your goals)
Frequency (do you have rest days in between workouts? Do you workout once a week or daily, or work different parts on different days?)
Technique (what are you doing, why are you doing it, and what is the best technique, alignment, speed, rhythm, or range to do it at)
The above list is very generalized, but you can see there are multiple modifiable factors that can affect the tolerance or resilience of our tissues, and in turn, when it results in injury or having “overdone it”.
If you are a high level athlete versus a grandmother who takes care of her grandkids, you will likely have different goals when it comes to your fitness and lifestyle. Try not to compare yourself to others when thinking about what kind of program you should do.
See my blog called Exercise specificity: what do you need? for help in figuring this out.
Let’s be realistic
Exercise and injury do not need to go hand in hand. I think in many cases our ego gets the better of us. Or maybe it’s our memory (or inserted memory, a.k.a. delusion). Our inability to be in the moment with our bodies may result in participating in an activity in a manner that was better suited to a younger version of us, many years or even decades ago. In this case, re-evaluating how you feel during or after your activity of choice may help you refine and remodel the way you do things, matching it more closely to your current abilities or physical capacity.
If you know you are training for a future event which will require a level of fitness that exceeds your current fitness level, educate yourself, use common sense, ask questions and look for advise from those who appear to be successful in the same activity. This may increase your odds of avoiding injury and completing your goal. I think one of the best things you could do is be realistic on time. Give yourself more than enough time to prepare for the event.
We know that the resilience of our tissues also depends on the fuel we use to sustain activity and to build and regenerate new tissue. This gets even trickier, as there are so many views on nutrition, and everywhere we look there is advise on how to best address this. Find someone you trust and whose perspective is similar to yours when it comes to food choices. Start with the obvious by making healthy food choices(i.e. avoiding junk food, highly processed food). Eat what you know is healthy more often.
Exercise and injury. My last thought is think about consistency. If you only dabble in exercise or in intentional physical activity once in a while, start with one day a week, or one activity that you can do well. Develop a basic schedule that you can stick to. Find a place for it in your calendar and make that the beginning of your “exercise week”. You may find that planting the seed (deciding when, where , what and how) and then cultivating it (completing it at the beginning of your “exercise week”), may result in new “buds” in unexpected areas.
Motivation to exercise
Exercise for the most part should be fun. If you hate it, maybe you are doing the wrong thing. The options when it comes to exercise and physical activity are endless. You don’t need to fit into any mold. If something works for you, stick with it. Then see if there are ways to expand your horizons, and switch it up a bit.
If you really do not know where to start, talk to someone who should know, and don’t feel intimidated. It doesn’t take much to get moving. And once you find the beginning of your path, it could take you anywhere.
It’s OK to “start over” many, many times. Keep at it, and soon you will feel something stick. You’ve got to move, and I have no doubt that you can do it!
Let me help you get started
If you need help, accountability(and I mean this in the lightest sense) or just to know that you are not alone in your exercise journey, join me in September for weekly motivational movement, exercise demos, conversation and fun! It won’t be complicated. Stay tuned!
If you are ready to roll, check out my page, Essentrics with Andrea. It could be your starting point, or maybe it will be something you can try later. In any case, take charge and join my email list. I will send you future blogs and the latest updates on my scheduled livestreams.
Are you ready?
Get set and let’s GO!