Last week I introduced a few common myths regarding stretching and working out. They included whether or not it was right to take a hot shower after working out, whether or not you should drink water during a workout, and whether or not the average muscle injury is caused by a difference in leg length. Today I’d like to add a couple more common myths to the list.
Myth #4: Exhausted or injured muscles must be immobilized until they are healed.
Wrong. If you have a serious fracture or muscle shred, it definitely needs to be immobilized. If you have a small strain, sprain, or tear, immobilizing it until it is completely healed is one of the worst things you can do. Sure, wearing a brace while it’s in the acute (brand new) stage of injury will help you to avoid added pain, but you need to take that bandage off as soon as possible and keep your muscles moving. Taking one muscle out of the equation will cause your other muscles to overcompensate. They’ll attempt to hold your body in ways they weren’t intended, thus causing further injury. Incorporate movement into your RICE routine (rest, ice, compression, elevation) and you’ll heal faster.
Myth #5: Workout injuries are inevitable.
Some well meaning individual probably told you that an injury, at least a small one, was inevitable. He was trying to prepare you, but he was wrong. If you know your limitations and pay close attention to the way your body reacts you can certainly avoid injuries. Stop your workout if you are too tired, you feel as though you’re not in the mood to exercise, or if you feel cramping and muscle fatigue. All of these are warning signs that your routine may not go as planned. Your body will thank you for skipping a day if it means not getting an injury that will sidetrack you for weeks.
Take care when planning your exercise routine, and pay attention to your body. You know yourself better than anyone else. If you aren’t sure if something you’re doing is safe or appropriate, as a certified trainer or physical therapist for help. You’re more likely than not to enjoy injury-free workouts for years to come.