It can be easy when first starting an exercise program to get carried away. Many newcomers believe that more means more. But it’s not just exercise, but exercise and recovery together that produce healthy, safe adaptations in the body. The common beginner's mistake of thinking long, too frequent workouts will help you reach your goal faster can be a dangerous one. This belief is one of the ways exercisers sustain overuse injuries, the most common type of injury in sports and fitness.
An overuse injury is an injury to the body that is a result of repetitive sub-traumatic force to the same joint, tendons, ligaments or bone. Unlike an acute injury, which happens following a single, sudden traumatic event, overuse injuries happen slowly over time as a series of micro-traumas.
Some of the more common overuse injuries include tennis elbow, runners knee, and shoulder bursitis. The slowly accumulating nature of these injuries makes them challenging to diagnose. Analysis of possible overuse injuries is best done by a sports medicine professional who specializes in your particular sport.
Treatment for these injuries usually requires cutting back on the intensity, duration, and frequency of the causative activity. Many also use ice and anti-inflammatory medications during recovery.
It’s important for exercisers to understand that these types of injuries are preventable. To avoid overuse injuries, it’s important to always exercise with proper form, always allow for adequate exercise recovery, and to be sure to progress your workouts at an appropriate rate. For beginners, it may be wise to consult a fitness professional to help develop an appropriate fitness plan from the start.