January 02, 2023 3 min read

Exercise-related injuries are extremely common, particularly in those people who are new to physical activity, for those starting a new fitness program, & for those who have recently increased their level of exercise intensity. Each & every year millions of people begin their year by implementing a new fitness routine. With so much emphasis being placed on fitness, it is important to be aware of your body’s limits and how it responds to different types of physical activities. Knowing these signs can help you maximize your training by recognizing when to push through & when to slow down to prevent an injury.

Recognize what Pain Is Telling You

One of the major untruths that promotes exercise-related injuries is “no pain, no gain.” When it comes to recognizing pain during exercise, it’s important to pay attention to the type of pain you’re experiencing. Some pain is normal—it can indicate that you are pushing yourself and making progress—but if the pain is sharp or sudden, it could be an indication of a potential injury or strain. A good rule of thumb is “if it hurts, don’t continue”. If you experience persistent discomfort or feel like something isn’t quite right with your body, take a break from exercising until you can consult with a doctor.

Slow Down When Needed, Rest & Recover Accordingly

If you push yourself too hard when exercising, or don’t give yourself enough time between workouts for rest and recovery, you may end up overtraining your body & aggravating existing injuries. Understanding how much of a demand a particular workout has on the nervous system & how much of an impact that workout will have on future workouts is important. When we discuss fatigue, which refers to the inability to maintain a certain power output or intensity, it is imperative to know that physiologists typically break nervous system fatigue into two categories – Central fatigue & peripheral fatigue.

Central fatigue – The brain chemistry has acutely changed to a point where it is more difficult for the brain & spinal cord to send signals to the working muscles.

Peripheral Fatigue – The working muscles are unable to produce the same level of fast and/or forceful contractions due to a combination of not enough food/stored food to breakdown, damage to the muscle itself, & accumulation of molecules responsible for that muscle burn sensation.

It is vital to understand what types of workouts have a high demand on the nervous system because those workout will require more rest (48-92 hours) before optimal functioning of the nervous system returns. If too many high intensity sessions are done consecutively, without proper rest & recovery, you will be on the fast track to overtraining & seeing significant performance decreases.

In conclusion, it’s important to understand that all activities will cause some level of the central nervous system & peripheral nervous system fatigue. Knowing what types of activities cause the largest fatigue & therefore will require more rest, will help you progress your physical fitness safely & effectively.

Modify Your Movements

Increasing difficulty levels & progressing exercises too quickly can also lead to injury—especially if proper form isn’t maintained throughout each set of movements. Start off at a level that feels comfortable for you and gradually increase difficulty as needed; this will help ensure that all muscles are engaged correctly while also preventing overexertion due to poor posture or incorrect form when performing exercises such as squats, crunches, or other weight-bearing activities.  

Be Aware of Your Limits

Finally, it’s important to be aware of your own limits when exercising; no one knows your body better than you do! Don’t compare & or try to keep up with others if their fitness level is higher than yours. Listen closely to your body and modify movements accordingly to progress safely & effectively through your program.

Listening closely and paying attention to the state of your body & mind when implementing a new training program is key for seeing results, & avoiding injuries related to physical activity. Understanding what pain is telling you during training can help you distinguish between knowing when to push through or when to stop & rest. Understanding central fatigue & peripheral fatigue can help you program & plan workouts accordingly to maximize training & minimize overtraining. Being aware of your limits & modifying your movements in a progressive fashion will help you structure your sessions with the proper exercises & movements patterns to keep you safe. Listen to your body & crush your goals!

Brad Becca
Brad Becca

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