Have you ever suffered from an injury or muscle pain that has made your everyday routine feel almost impossible? Most people are familiar with this experience. Whether it’s an injury on their back or neck, knee or an elbow, wrist or ankle. Even small injuries have the power to take us out of commission for a few days. However, more often than not, these minor injuries can be avoided. And even when they occur, they don’t have to turn into long-term hindrances. You just need to know how to treat a sore body properly for optimum recovery time.
Common injury misconceptions
Many people think that suffering from a sore body would prevent them from being active and working out. However, this is far from the truth, in most cases avoiding physical activity will only increase the pain and longevity of the condition. This is because the body reacts to inactivity by decreasing muscle tissue and bone mass, which in turn will lead to increased stiffness, soreness, and pain.
Therefore, the trick lies in staying active
Continuously and gradually improving your fitness is the way to go (yes, even if you have suffered from an injury). There are also psychological advantages to this; your body will produce hormones that will reduce pain and improve your mood.
It is critical to understand that there is no such thing as bad or harmful activity. The disadvantages appear only if you exceed your limits through excessive exercise and strenuous activity that places an unusual strain on a specific body part, leading to a sore body.
The concept of ‘graded activity’
Graded activity means starting at the very basic level of your ability, in terms of fitness, and upgrading over time. A fitness routine based on graded activity is all about avoiding extremes, which is key for both avoiders, and overachievers.
The avoiders are couch potatoes, people who are unmotivated and unwilling to exert their bodies. When faced with sore bodies after an injury, they avoid exercise out of fear of added pain.
Achievers are the people who have a tendency to overestimate their abilities and take on too much. When they feel pain, they interpret a sore body as evidence that their bodies are not cooperating. They then lose interest in the activity and give up.
The concept of graded activity is therefore based on exercise sessions with a pre-set amount of repetitions or amount of time, increasing slowly. This avoids the usual ‘push-crash’ cycle of over-exercising or not exercising at all due to concern of relapse or pain.
How to keep fit and healthy; a 3-step mindset
Determine your level of fitness
The first step here is to figure out how fit you actually are. Begin by assessing your current level of fitness and working your way up from there. Work some light running into your routine or enrol in a fitness class. Then you can determine whether you are an achiever or an avoider.
Both these types of people set different priorities and fitness goals– but the body will eventually set its priorities straight itself! So, the sooner you recognise the importance of activity and seek out tips to stay fit, the sooner you will see results.
Find your area of interestThe second step is to find a form of exercise that you actually enjoy, such as running, gymnastics or sports. Find the activity that is right for you and that fits well into your schedule. This may entail a few trials, but you must make the effort to push yourself. Sometimes it's about doing something that isn't your strong suit. You have to learn to balance your strengths and your weaknesses. This can be frustrating at times, but it will pay off in the end.
Stay consistentBuild up your tolerance and gradually increase your level of exertion, with an emphasis on increase for avoiders and slowly for achievers.
Try to work outside of your comfort zone, you may need to focus on your weaknesses rather than your strengths now and then.
Health tips to stay fit
How to keep active at the office
- Dynamic sitting
Alter your seating position as frequently as possible. Experiment with stretching your legs, sitting upright and stretching your spine, leaning back, make sure you get enough activity all while sitting right at your desk.
- Use a headset
Do you have a habit of squeezing the receiver or phone between your neck and shoulders? Doing so may result in a one-sided strain. Use a headset for calls, it is more convenient and will save you from unnecessary strain too.
- Work out during the day
There are some simple work outs you can do right at your desk. Such as stretching your arms upwards and gently pushing your head towards your shoulder. Such exercises will stretch the spine and increase mobility in the shoulder and neck area.
How to keep fit as a senior citizen
- Stay active
Old age doesn’t have to mean loss of mobility. Stay active on a regular basis and try to exercise three times a week for 30 minutes each. As long as you keep your body active, you can preserve your physical health.
- Consistency is key
If you've had a setback due to injury or illness, try to get back to your previous level of fitness. Be patient because muscle tissue development can take three to six months.
- Keep training
Training yourself to keep your balance is very important in senior citizens as a preventative measure for falls. Try this simple exercise—brush your teeth while standing on one leg to slowly build your balance.
Tips to stay fit for Athletes
Always attempt to train all of your physical skills equally by doing endurance (cardio) and flexibility exercises. A single-muscle or ligament workout will not train all of the muscle groups or ligaments.
- Proper footwear
Your footwear is an important part of your workout as it provides stability in your ankles and knees which carries up to your spine as well. Proper footwear can help to prevent pain and incorrect gait or posture while running.
- Rest is essential
Allow your muscles to rest for two to three days after a strenuous training session to allow them to regenerate. Always drink plenty of water and eat a diet rich in carbohydrates and proteins.
Please note that none of the above given tips or recommendations substitute medical advice. Important: consult a health professional in case of an injury or if you suspect overuse of joints or a medical condition such as a fracture. A physician should be consulted in those acute cases when the condition is accompanied by reddening, swelling or hyperthermia of joints, ongoing joint trouble or severe pain and/or are associated with neurological symptoms
(e.g. numbness, tingling, loss of motion).
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