Now that the weather is getting warmer, the sun is out longer, and we are all a little bit more motivated to get moving again- it is important to gradually get back into the swing of things. This will allow us to enjoy our physical health optimally with a decreased risk of injury.
Injury commonly occurs when a significant change in load exists. This can happen with either an increase or decrease in load. Load can refer to time, distance, frequency, intensity, power output or rate of perceived exertion, speed, and/or activity specific function i.e. jumps, throws, pitches, serves, and/or bowls. In addition, introducing or re-introducing a new type of physical activity into your routine is also considered a change in load. Therefore, it is important to continuously monitor the load that is exerted.
Furthermore, it is important to differentiate the difference between delayed onset muscle soreness, that is normal with activity, and pain that does not relieve after 24-48 hours. Characteristically, muscle soreness can be resolved with warming up the muscles or lengthening the muscles again through stretching before or after an activity. There is insufficient evidence supporting whether stretches benefit more prior or following exercise. Typically, warming up with dynamic stretches will increase blood flow and oxygen to muscles and stretching after will reduce the effects of lactic acid build -up. Lactic acid build up is also the cause for delayed onset of muscle soreness which also can interfere with optimal performance. Muscle soreness will feel more achy and stiff as opposed to a sharp, stabbing pain which may contribute to development of an injury. In addition, pain should not be present during, directly after, or morning after exercise. As mentioned, injuries typically do not resolve within the first 48 hours and should be carefully monitored and reviewed by a health professional.
Incremental changes are crucial to preventing injury and allowing your body to adapt appropriately. For example, if you have been inactive all winter season, you can introduce light exercises such as walking for 10-15 minutes and then gradually increase the duration or intensity to get the body moving again. When returning to sport it is equally important to increase any load gradually.
The risk of de-loading or overloading muscles can lead to tendinopathies, muscles strains or tears or mal-adaptive strategies which can eventually lead to the load exceeding the tissue capacity. Early detection can aid in early diagnosis and appropriate intervention of the signs and symptoms that may lead to certain conditions. Your physiotherapist can provide advice if you have any concerns with regards to your training program or any uncertainty.
Book now for an initial assessment or enquire further at Back In Motion Clayton Physiotherapy 0386869312.