How to avoid injury during exercise.

Regular exercise is good for your body and safe for almost everyone. However, with any type of activity or sport, there is always a chance you can get hurt and injured. Exercise injuries can range from strains and sprains to back pain. 

With a little planning, you can prevent injury and stay safe during exercise. 

So, what causes exercise injuries? 

Some of the most common causes of exercise injuries include: 

  • Exercising before your body has warmed up 
  • Repeating the same motion over and over again 
  • Not having proper form for your exercise 
  • Not resting in between workouts 
  • Pushing your body too hard or too quickly 
  • Doing an exercise that is too strenuous for your level of fitness 
  • Not using proper equipment 

Why is it important to Warm up and Cool Down before and after exercise? 

Warming up before exercise gets your blood flowing, warms up your muscles, and helps you avoid injury. The easiest way to warm up is to exercise slowly for the first few minutes, then pick up the pace. For example, before running, walk briskly. 

You should also cool down after exercise to bring your heart rate and body temperature back to normal. Cool down by ending your routine at a slower pace for the last 5 to 10 minutes. 

Why is it important to stretch? 

To stay flexible, you should stretch at least 2 times a week. But it is unclear whether stretching really helps reduce injury. 

You can stretch either after you have warmed up or after you exercise. 

  • Do not stretch cold muscles. 
  • Hold stretches for no longer than 15 to 30 seconds. 
  • Do not bounce unless being supervised by a professional. 

Choose Your Exercise Wisely 

If you have not been active, or have a health condition, talk with your doctor to make sure you are healthy enough for exercise and ask what types of exercise might be best for you. 

If you are new to exercise, you may want to start with low-intensity options such as: 

  • Walking 
  • Swimming 
  • Riding a stationary bike in a gym or at home 

These types of exercise are less likely to cause injury than higher-impact activities like running or aerobics. Contact sports like football or rugby are also more likely to cause injury. 

Use the Right Equipment 

Using safety equipment can greatly reduce your risk of injury. 

Be sure you use the right type of equipment for your sport. For example, do not play tennis in running shoes. Wear a ski helmet, not a bike helmet, when downhill skiing. 

Make sure your exercise equipment:

  • Fits you properly 
  • Is the right design for your sport or activity 
  • Is in good working condition 
  • Is used correctly and consistently 

Learn Good Form 

If you are new to an exercise or sport, consider taking lessons to learn the basics. Learning the right way to do an exercise or sport can help prevent injury. Look for lessons in your community or through sports or outdoors organizations. You can always contact us here at Spike Fitness and we would be happy to help. 

Mix it up a bit 

To help prevent overuse injuries, vary your workouts. For example, instead of running 3 days a week, cycle 1 day and run 2. You will use a different set of muscles, and still get a good workout. 

Listen to Your Body 

Forget the old saying “no pain, no gain.” Of course, to build strength and stamina, you will need to push your body. The key is to push slowly and gradually. You can expect sore muscles after your workout, but you should never feel pain when exercising. If you feel pain, stop right away. 

Being tired all the time can also be a sign that you may be overdoing it. In general, avoid increasing these 3 things all at the same time: 

  • Number of days you exercise 
  • Length of time you exercise 
  • How hard you work out 

Sometimes, less can be more! 

If you do have an injury, you can try to treat strains and sprains at home before seeking medical advice, however, if you are worried it is always worth getting it checked out, just to be on the safe side

Training with injury

Whether you’re dealing with a minor injury or one that requires surgery, a fast recovery is probably your priority. And, if you’ve been working out for a while, the activity withdrawal is real – and probably causing a lot of anxiety.  

What type and how much exercise you can do is going to depend on your injury. The fact is that recovery depends heavily on many factors including the severity of injury, the location of the injury, the level of fitness someone had before the injury, and of course the attitude of the individual, low impact exercise sessions doing activities such as walking or swimming, or cycling can keep up your fitness level while you’re recovering.  

Again, what you can do depends on the where and how badly you’re injured. Those low impact exercises are going to get you moving, without beating up your body. As tempting as it can be to rush through the recovery process, trust me the temptation is bad, patience is your best bet. Let your body heal completely before you push yourself. From personal experience over the last two or three months, this can be difficult but it is so worth it in the end!  

Effective Exercise Options While You Recover  

Maintaining your cardio fitness while nursing an injury can get a little tricky, but it’s not impossible. Here are some exercises you can try, depending on your injury: Weight Lifting and/or Kettle Bells What? Weights? I know you’re thinking this is supposed to about cardio, and it is. Lifting weights is a two-for: you can get in a cardiovascular workout and get stronger at the same time. If you’re using proper technique, you should be able to burn some calories while keeping things relatively low impact.  

Obviously if you’ve got a back injury, kettlebells may not be the way to go. Again, it all depends on your limitations and your injuries. It is possible to put together a short circuit with high repetitions, low weight, and short rest periods for a more cardiovascular result. The great thing is that it can be adapted to the type of injury. If there is an upper body injury, a lower body circuit would work and vice versa. 

Resistance Bands  

Similar to kettle bells or weight lifting, resistance bands work both your cardio and muscle fitness. This is probably the cheapest and easiest workout option (recovery or not). You don’t even have to go to a gym.  

Swimming  

Swimming is a difficult yet low impact workout. Most likely, if you swim consistently throughout recovery, your cardio fitness level will be better than when you first started. Swimming requires a whole-body effort, making it a good challenge for those of you that usually run or bike. If you can’t stand swimming, you can try running in water or water weights.  

Cycling is great for overcoming irritating injuries. It’s low impact and easy to tailor to your fitness level.  

Walking  

If you aren’t ready for the more intense exercises, If you can, start off your recovery process with some nice walks. I think it is one of the best ways to stay moving and keep cardio levels up, As you start feeling stronger, lengthen or speed up your walks, and then you can graduate to a harder exercise.  

Your Mental Strength Matters  

Your attitude towards recovery is everything. Getting frustrated is normal, but don’t let the setback get you down. Staying positive is one of the best things you can do while your body heals. 

Hormones and weight loss

When it comes to hormones and weight loss, it’s a bit like the chicken and the egg dilemma. Did hormonal imbalance cause weight gain? Or did diet and lifestyle choices cause weight gain, which triggered the hormonal imbalance? Often, it’s the latter.  Either way, hormones are a crucial part of the equation when it comes to successful weight loss — they play a role in many bodily functions ranging from appetite regulation to fat storage.

By understanding the various hormones in your body, you can make informed decisions about behaviours and patterns that could be contributing to challenges in your weight-loss journey.

Here are some of the key hormones that play a role in weight management and how you can get them to work for you:

Cortisol – Although it’s thought of as a stress hormone because it’s secreted to help us decide whether to fight or flight, cortisol also promotes insulin secretion. This makes us store fat on our bodies, particularly around our waists, one of the more dangerous areas for our health. It can also increase our appetite which can lead to overeating and weight gain.

Tip: Managing stress and how you cope with it is key to losing weight. Find what works for you, whether that’s making a cup of tea when you reach your mental boiling point, going for a daily walk, soaking in a hot bath or enjoying some time in nature. If you tend to stress eat, it helps to keep your go-to foods out of the house.

Ghrelin – This is produced by the stomach and often referred to as the hunger hormone. It’s highest when your stomach is empty and decreases after you eat. The combination of stress and increased ghrelin can be especially hard later in the day, which is why you sometimes find it hard not to over indulge in the evenings.

Tip: Managing stress is key, as is making sleep a priority since deprivation can increase ghrelin levels. It is also recommended that you eat high-fiber, high-protein foods, which keep you fuller longer.

Insulin – Insulin’s job is to drive glucose (sugar) into our cells. While cortisol can cause problems with insulin, so can our dietary habits. When we eat foods high in sugar, our bodies need to constantly produce insulin so the glucose can be utilized by our cells.  At the same time, an elevated insulin level sends the signal to our body that there is excessive sugar, and it needs to start converting it to fat and storing it for later. This leads to a vicious cycle, known as insulin resistance, where the body no longer responds normally to insulin. Insulin resistance can make it a lot harder to lose weight, since the body doesn’t respond normally to carbohydrates.

Tip: Many people mistakenly think they need to ditch carbs completely to lose weight if they have problems with insulin. What’s most important, though, is to choose the right types of carbohydrates in appropriate portion sizes. Whole-food sources like sweet potatoes, whole grains and brown rice can help balance blood sugar levels since these “unrefined carbs retain their fibre content, and fibre helps to blunt the body’s response to blood sugar,

Leptin – Produced by fat cells, leptin signals to the brain how much fat is in the body. When leptin levels are low, you tend to feel hungry; when leptin levels are high, you tend to feel full. As you gain weight, you start to become resistant to Leptin, so you may have very high levels in your system but the brain isn’t registering that resulting in over eating and weight gain.

Tip: Some research suggests physical activity can help manage leptin levels. Although any exercise may help, resistance training appears to be more efficient at reducing leptin levels. Sleep is also key, Leptin is made in your sleep. That’s one reason people with sleep deprivation are hungrier.

Estrogen – For women, estrogen levels that are either too high or too low can impact weight and body fat. Having too-high levels of estrogen before menopause, also known as estrogen dominance, is associated with weight gain and increased fat storage. High levels of estrogen can also cause insulin resistance, leading to weight gain. For example, women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) are more likely to experience imbalances of both estrogen and testosterone, and have insulin resistance.

Tip: For premenopausal women, load up on fiber-rich foods and  veggies. Fiber reduces estrogen absorption in the GI tract and shuttles excess estrogen out of the body via bowel movements. Post-menopausal women can promote balance by focusing on whole foods in their natural form like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds and lean protein, Exercise can also help with estrogen balance.

Testosterone – Low testosterone in men can impact overall weight and has been linked to weight gain. Low testosterone levels reduce muscle mass and calorie expenditure, so testosterone deficiency, sometimes called “low T,” can lead to weight gain over time and make weight loss harder.

Tip: Men can combat the loss of testosterone with exercise. Resistance training such as weightlifting is the best type of exercise for maintaining healthy testosterone levels. But it’s important to note that for lasting impact on testosterone, exercise needs to be a regular habit. High-intensity interval training is also a good option.

Nutrition for Sport and exercise

We should all aim to eat a healthy, varied diet based on the principles of the Eatwell Guide, and this is also the case when you are active. When physically active, your body will use up more energy (calories).

This can help with weight control or if you are not looking to lose weight, you may find you need more food to replace the extra energy used.

It is also important to keep well hydrated. Eating well for physical activity and sport can have many benefits including:

  • Allowing you to perform well in your chosen sport or activity
  • Reducing the risk of injury and illness
  • Ensuring the best recovery after exercise or a training program

However, the dietary patterns that will best suit an individual will depend on the amount and intensity of activity.

This can range from those who are just starting to get more active, those meeting the activity guidelines (of 150 minutes moderate activity per week), those who are active at higher levels (such as those training for an endurance event such as a marathon or doing organised team sports) or professional athletes.

For professional athletes, getting personalised nutrition advice from a qualified sports nutritionist or dietitian is likely to be an important part of their training support.

Physical activity when losing weight

Doing physical activity will increase your energy expenditure (the calories you use), as energy is required during exercise to fuel the contracting muscles, increased breathing and heart rate and metabolism.

It is difficult to lose weight just by getting more active and it is still important to control your calorie intake for weight control. The most effective weight loss programmes include both a controlled diet and increased physical activity.

It is also important to be active to keep weight off after weight loss. A study of people in the US who have successfully maintained their weight loss shows that they tend to be active for about an hour a day (usually walking) and spend less time in sedentary activities like watching TV in their free time.

The benefits of physical activity go beyond just burning off calories, and can help preserve muscle as you lose weight and increase the proportion of muscle in the body.

We also know that physical activity, and spending less time sitting, can reduce your risk of developing a number of chronic diseases, such as heart disease.

What are the mental health benefits of exercise?

Exercise and Depression

Studies show that exercise can treat mild to moderate depression as
effectively as antidepressant medication—but without the side effects, of course.

As one example, a recent study done by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that running for 15 minutes a day or walking for an hour reduces the risk of major depression by 26%.

In addition to relieving depression symptoms, research also shows that maintaining an exercise schedule can prevent you from relapsing. Exercise is a powerful depression fighter for several reasons.

Most importantly, it promotes all kinds of changes in the brain, including neural growth, reduced inflammation, and new activity patterns that promote feelings of calm and wellbeing.

It also releases endorphins, powerful chemicals in your brain that energize your spirits and make you feel good.

Finally, exercise can also serve as a distraction, allowing you to find some quiet time to break out of the cycle of negative thoughts that feed depression.

NEW YEAR, NEW ME! STARTING YOUR NEW YEAR THE RIGHT WAY! (Part 2)

The importance of movement.

As with nutrition, keeping things simple will give you the best chance of success.
Aim to be active at least once on a daily basis.

This alone will help you:

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Maintain the ability to perform everyday tasks with ease
  • Improve self-esteem
  • Reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety

The importance of movement.

As with nutrition, keeping things simple will give you the best chance of success.
Aim to be active at least once on a daily basis.

This alone will help you:

There are many ways to approach physical activity and exercise. 150 minutes of
moderate physical activity per week split into 5 x 30-minute sessions works well for
some whilst others prefer 75 minutes of high intensity activity (5 x 15 minutes).

Your lifestyle will ultimately determine your options but for many of us time is the key driver.

Mix up your workouts to keep boredom at bay and keep track of your progress – it will keep you motivated to see your performance improving.

NEW YEAR, NEW ME! STARTING YOUR NEW YEAR THE RIGHT WAY!

Whilst we all carry a little extra Christmas weight that we aim to get rid of in
January, it is important that you also consider long-term goals, mapping out some
personal milestones that last past January.

Where many will just say ‘I want to lose weight’ or ‘I want to tone up’, putting together a more specific plan such as ‘I aim to lose half a stone’ or, ‘lose two inches from my waist’, can keep you focused, allowing you to keep track of progressions and can make you excited and geared up to hit the next goal.

Buddy up, as they say, a bit of competition never hurt anyone! This is why buddying up in the gym is a great way to maintain efforts, pushing each other and mirroring each other’s motivation.

This is incredibly impacting if you are a creature of habit that needs someone in their ear, giving you that extra push to reach the limits you know you can.

Although your buddy does not have to reflect you physically, it is good to pick a gym partner that employs the same core vision and utilises the same equipment and techniques. Whether this is a gym partner or a Personal Trainer.

This will allow you to track your progress and take inspiration from one another.

Make exercise part of your lifestyle. It may be an overused cliché in the health and
fitness industry, but ‘changing your lifestyle’ is more important than a quick-fix
solution, enjoying healthier weight-loss and muscle growth.

By viewing exercise as part of your lifestyle, you will be less likely to skip the gym.
So here’s to 2021 and the new you!

HEALTH AND FITNESS OVER THE FESTIVE PERIOD.

With the tin of Roses, Celebrations or Quality Street on the coffee table, the
smell of freshly baked minced pies out of the oven.

The bottles of Baileys and Prosecco or a crate of beers lining the fridge door. While Christmas might well be the most magical time of the year, it’s also often the most indulgent, alcohol filled and let’s face it, exhausting period in the winter season.

Whether you’re heading home to your families for the festive season or staying
at home, December is full of temptations that can easily make the most avid gym
go’er and devoted health-conscious person tumble off the wagon, however, it
doesn’t have to be like that!!

Spike Fitness is open over the Christmas period, we will be here ready to help
you keep on the straight and narrow with your training over this festive period.

We have a revised timetable but all classes and sessions are still running. If the
class session times are unsuitable for you, speak to us about one on one
sessions to ensure your training needs are met over this period.