I have always gotten hurt when I start an exercise program, why is this?

Wendy Batts
Many of us fall prey to injuries or aches and pains when we begin a new program or start back up again after a long layoff. There are two big factors that can contribute to these early injuries: Overtraining and Poor technique/form.
1. The best way to overcome the obstacle of “doing too much too soon” is to progress slowly. We get very excited about our programs, and rightfully so, but this can lead to excessive fatigue which can impact how well you perform exercise. Exercise is a carefully applied stress that the body must recover from. If you don’t give your body enough time to recover before your next workout, you may increase your risk of injury. To be sure that you progress slowly and allow enough time for recovery and consult a fitness professional regarding your program design.
2. Poor form can lead to overuse injuries, resulting in pain, discomfort and even injury. Consult a fitness professional here as well to be sure your technique is correct and your exercise selection choices contribute to better movement and improved range of motion.
Brian Yee
Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
If that's the case, it is important to consult with a Physical Therapist, Physician, and/or personal trainer that can assess your causes of your injuries. There may be an underlying medical condition, possible muscle imbalance and injury history, as well improper progression/introduction back into an exercise program.

Injuries are common in a large majority of individuals who start an exercise program; however, these injuries can be prevented. First and foremost, you need to make sure the program is tailored to you as an individual. Many people possess muscle imbalances in which certain muscles are tight and others are weak. This leads to poor movement patterns. Thus, if one possess poor movement patterns due to lack of flexibility or stability and then places stress on themselves via exercise, injuries can occur. A well-designed porgram will include stretching exercises to address muscles that may be tight and stabilization exercises for muscles that may be weak. Key muscles that are commonly tight in many individuals include the calves, the muscles in front of the hips, and the muscles in front of the shoulder. A calf stretch, hip flexor stretch, and shoulder stretch can be done before you exercise to help lengthen those tight muscles. Muscles that are commonly weak include the hip muscles, the abdominal/core muscles, and the upper back muscles. After your stretch, you can then perform floor bridges strengthen your hips, a floor plank to strengthen your core muscles, and a floor cobra to strengthen the upper back. These exercises will also help in improving stability at key areas of the body during exercise. With increased flexibility and improved stability, your body will be better prepared to handle the stress of your workout and thus, decrease your risk of injury.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.