Fitness: Exercise and Injury Prevention
Corey Anderson, CSCS
Bon Secours Sports Performance
No matter how hard you try, at some point in your life, you are bound to experience back, knee or shoulder pain of some kind. In fact, surveys have shown that chronic low back pain is the leading cause of disability and missed work in the U.S. Joints are just like the brakes on a car; at some point they are going to experience some wear, and in some cases need replacing. Unfortunately for us it is a lot harder to replace a knee than it is a brake pad. However, there is a bit of good news! Below are some things you can do to help prevent these types of injuries from occurring.
Exercise! Exercise plays a pivotal role in preventing all kinds of injuries. A proper exercise regimen will include proper strength training practicing proper movements, core strength/stability, and flexibility as well as a cardiovascular component. Exercise will help strengthen the entire body and keep joints healthy and moving properly. If you exercise regularly, you are more likely to understand proper lifting mechanics and its importance in everyday life, such as moving furniture or picking something up from the ground. Flexibility is going to help muscles maintain their elastic properties and prevent extreme tightness.
Maintain a healthy body weight! Maintaining a healthy body weight will also help in prevention of injuries. Carrying around excess body weight can place a lot of unnecessary wear and tear on your joints. Don’t believe me? Imagine filling a book bag with a 30-pound sandbag and wearing it backwards all day. Your lower back will not be pleased.
Posture! Practicing proper posture can help prevent all kinds of injuries to hips, back, shoulders, knees – you name it. This will be important for all you desk jockeys out there. Your body is like a machine; it is going to sacrifice quality of movement to maintain quantity. So something as small as slouching at your desk all day can wreak havoc on your body’s ideal mechanics when walking or doing other activities. Sitting all day can cause your hips to tighten up, which could cause your hips to become misaligned, ultimately leading to lower back tightness. Your shoulders can also become stiff and lead to shoulder injuries in the future. Your body will not let this alignment issue stop it from carrying on, so it is going to compensate and shift stress to the wrong areas to keep moving. In the long run, this could lead to serious musculoskeletal problems.
Exercise can play an important role in preventing injuries and chronic pains. It can also help someone maintain a healthy body weight and contribute to the prevention of injuries. If you work at a desk or your job requires you to sit all day, take frequent breaks just to stand up, take a quick lap down the hall, and do some quick stretches to keep you from becoming stiff. These three things are great not only for helping prevent injuries, but also for overall health and well-being!