San Diego Hypnotist

Advocating Mental, Physical, Emotional, Spiritual Fitness

Working Out? Beware Of Injury!

Personal regret inspires todays topic. Last week I pulled a muscle in my back by being an overly enthusiastic exerciser. I got carried away on a broken stair machine, that I didn’t realize was broken until it hurt too much to keep stepping as hard as I was having to step, in order to keep the machine turned on. You know the kind of mechanism I’m talking about, if you don’t keep a steady pace, it turns off. At first when it kept saying “faster” (just before turning off) I thought I was to blame. Not wanting to wimp out, I tried harder and harder. Finally I changed machines, but it was too late, I’d already felt the twinge in my back.

So this blog will be about the importance of being reasonable with your workouts. Important: Be aware that your current level of health, and obesity, will affect your abilities. I know, it sounds like a DUH!, but I know many women and men in their forties, who at some level think they are still seventeen and that their bodies will heal just as efficiently as they did back then. Trust me, it isn’t so.

When I first started exercising on a regular basis I was so out of shape I could barely walk. In fact, at 400 pounds, if I went to the store and couldn’t find parking next to the door, I’d leave and come back later. Sometimes really late. Well, one has to exercise to lose weight healthily, and I’m no exception. However, I had to begin very slow. My start level was doing the treadmill for one-two minutes, Max. And even with just that I’d be huffing and puffing the last few seconds. (I actually introduced myself to exercise through bellydance, but that’s another blog.)

These days, I’m jogging on the treadmill for ten minutes at a time (unless I’ve stupidly pulled a muscle in my back, or sprained an ankle…but that’s another story.) What a huge improvement in my overall health! But to get from there to here, believe me, I’ve suffered more than a handful of exercise-related injury. Strains, sprains, aches and pains from overdoing it. Even increased frequency of colds and flus. (That because I wasn’t giving my body the room it needed to both heal muscle, and decontaminate airborne bugs.) There must be balance. I’ve tried to keep it safe, but sometimes I’ve gotten too gung-ho.

In spite of going through the school of hard knocks, I love exercising. My motto is, “Do exercise in such a way that you look forward to it tomorrow.” I’ve noticed that many people hate exercise because they make it a chore. A nightmare. Painful. It doesn’t have to be that way, and in fact, shouldn’t be that way.

Recent evidence is that we only need to workout for thirty minutes at a time. More than that and stress hormones, like cortisol get released, reducing the benefits. So why bother?

Anyway, keep your workouts FUN – so you’ll keep wanting to do it, CONSISTENT – so you’ll notice results, and WITHIN your current safety potential – so you won’t injure yourself, and have to refrain from exercise for days to weeks.

Me myself and I…what I do is have a Minimum Workout Contract. That means my bottomline is to get to the gym and do 10 minutes on a bike, or stairs, or something aerobic. Plus, a few weights – legs or arms. That way, if I’m having a real low energy day, I don’t just NOT go to the gym. I still go, which keeps me in the routine, but I don’t feel it’s a ball and chain. I MAKE EXERCISE HABIT. I keep my schedule conducive to getting my workouts. It’s crucial to me, because it’s so easy to “not have time” for exercise, and I don’t want to swim in those waters.

So, even now that I am injured and can’t do my normal routine, because I belong to a gym with a pool, swimming or gentle water aerobics is a good alternative for me. It keeps me moving, keeps going to the gym in my busy schedule, and just feels good!

Okay, I veered off onto another branch of the topic. Back to the subject line. Off the top of my head, here are some DOs for avoiding injury:

DO make sure your machine is working properly. (My bad…but never again!)

DO make sure you are working your machine properly – ask a trainer or someone who knows how to use it properly if you aren’t sure.

DO work at YOUR individual pace for your particular level of ability – even when others around you are working out much harder.

DO try new machines slowly and steadily build speed, resistance, and endurance as you increase your muscle power.

DO warm up stretches before getting on the weights or aerobic machines – as it will not only increase your flexibility but also prepare your body for more effective, efficient fat-burning.

DO wear proper attire – loose, comfortable clothing for ultimate movement, and good sports shoes will enhance your results.

DO weight machines, however give your body adequate rest/repair time by alternating days you work on the upper body and torso, and days you work on the legs and butt.

Offhand, I can’t think of anymore, but if you can, send me a note and I’ll be sure to add it to the list, with a grateful acknowledgement to you! Till soon! Gina


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