Hey there! My name is Rob. I have a little joke I like to tell: exercise is the #1 cause of injury. It’s also the #1 way to stay physically healthy.
I guess it’s not exactly a joke. More like an observation that can be considered humorous since exercise is both healthy and inherently dangerous.
This post will be simple because I have a very simple concept to share.
As you start getting back into shape you will inevitably “hit your stride” at some point. You will start to enjoy the sweat and you will chase the feeling of a good, hard workout. You will chase that feeling of accomplishment you get as you slump into a chair after a new personal record. Maybe you’re running, or lifting, or swimming. No matter what you are doing you need to remember a simple concept: keep yourself limber.
As we begin using body parts – muscles and joints – that we have been neglecting for a year or more, those body parts respond by adapting to the new stresses we place on them. For muscles they tend to tighten and firm up – which is typically a good thing. But a tighter or firmer muscle is more capable quite often of becoming a monkey wrench and causing an injury. Likewise, inflamed or unstable joints from overworking them can also lead to injury.
Once you get an injury from exercising you are going to be unable to exercise normally for days, or more probably for weeks. You will lose progress and you will become de-conditioned again. The very effort you put in, and the results you accomplished, will be gone. Instead of feeling good you will feel even worse.
One of the most important things to focus on when getting back into exercise is to avoid the injury cycle. Do not overdo it and then force yourself to take 3 weeks off and start from the beginning again. Take it easy, listen to your body, and spend plenty of time stretching and warming up before and after exercising.