No More Excuses: Get Out And Exercise

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People who lack the motivation to exercise love to cite studies like this one which purport to find that long-exercise injuriesterm physical exercise is dangerous. There is plenty of anecdotal evidence on this point as well, as almost everyone knows someone (or at least claims to know someone) who exercised regularly yet still endured health problems or perhaps even suffered an early death.

These types of shallow arguments are not unique to those who want to maintain their sedentary lifestyles. Many times, when we follow a course which we know to be incorrect, we latch onto any shred of information which in any way supports our life choices.

The best way to break this mentality is to address these exercise myths head-on.

Sudden Injury

Like so many other excuses, the “exercise causes injury” excuse contains some truth. After all, it is true that increased physical activity increases the risk of trauma injury. However, that’s not the whole truth. Typically, these injuries are rather mild, and as set forth below, the few days off from exercise may actually be a good thing.

Moreover, stretching and other preventative measures greatly reduce the risk of injury. There is vigorous debate as to whether one should stretch before or after exercise, so mild stretches like these are usually best, because you can do them either before or after exercising. Also, running on a treadmill or a controlled indoor area reduces the risk of falls.

exercise injuries

If fitness injuries do occur, they are usually easy to deal with. Here are some common injuries and treatments:

  • Tendinitis: The classic “too much too soon” injury is easy to treat with rest. When you feel muscle pain, take a couple of days off until the pain completely goes away. Afterwards, do a few extra stretches every day, especially in the affected area.

 

  • Pulled Muscle/Sprained Ankle: We’ll put these two together because they are essentially the same kind of injury. Add a compression wrap and ice pack to the rest, keep the injured area elevated, and you should be good to go. If the pain lingers for a week or even three, that’s normal.

 

  • Knee Injuries: Serious knee injuries, like ACL tears, are very rare, especially among joggers and other moderate exercisers. Typically, the rest/ice/compression/elevation (R.I.C.E. method) works for these wounds as well.

Shin splints, another common fitness injury, are incredibly painful, but they are really just another overuse injury.

Noninjury Health

Some people who have predispositions toward joint problems should probably either limit running or avoid it altogether. But in most cases, the “running is bad for back” thing is just an excuse. Strap on a good back brace and get moving.

There is absolutely no evidence that long-term moderate exercise is bad for you and tons of evidence that it is very, very good for you. Studies like the one reference above pertain to power weightlifters, multiple triathletes, repetitive English Channel swimmers, and other who put excess strain on their bodies. Even in these circumstances, adverse issues like heart problems are more isolated than widespread.

Overexercise

Generally speaking, too much of anything is usually bad. Excessive exercise often causes physical burnout that increases the risk of injury, as well as emotional burnout that leads to lack of motivation. Furthermore, obsessing over body image or weight often leads to poor self-esteem, because no matter how long you stay on the treadmill or in the gym, you will probably never be Miss America or Mr. Universe.

Exercise needs to be part of your life, but it must not become your entire life.

As you begin your exercise routine, there are some pitfalls to avoid, but with some forethought and planning, they are easy to avoid. So what are you waiting for?

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