Getting injured is no fun.
No matter how big or small an injury is, it can set you back for a while.
And if your an athlete, you know what I mean… so KEEP READING!
Can we prevent injuries? Not 100%, but we can still drastically reduce the risk of getting injured!
How do we do that?
By understanding the reasons WHY people get injured in the first place.
Here’s the nine factors that increase the risk of injury in people (especially athletes):
The technique we use to lift a weight or perform an exercise determines how stress is distributed through the body;
For example: a front squat will place less stress on the hips/lower back, but more on the knees, while a low back bar squat will shift the stress from the knees to the hips/lower back.
If the form/technique of a movement is not ideal, too much stress can end up being placed on a specific area, thus possibly causing an injury.
On the other hand, though, a “perfect technique” won’t automatically save you from injury: in fact, too much stress will greatly increase your risk of injury, no matter how “good’ your form is.
What’s more, is that our body is excellent at “adaptation”:in fact, it can gradually build tolerance to any position with the proper training.
This means that even if someone performs an exercise with a “less optimal” technique, they won’t automatically get injured.
For examples: athletes during the squat may show a “butt wink” or “knees caving in”, but despite that, they may not get injured because their body adapted and built tolerance to those positions over time.
2. TOTAL VOLUME/INTENSITY
The longer we expose our body to a certain type of stress, the more likely it is to get injured.
For example: the more a runner runs, the more likely he/she is to experience knee pain.
Also, the injury will be specific to the type of stress our body is exposed to.
For example: runners are morelikely to experience knee pain rather than elbow pain, because they stress their lower body more than their upper body.
Instead, the opposte will probably happen to baseball players, who stress their arms more than their legs.
3. SPIKES in Training
If you haven’t been exercising for a long time and you suddenly decide to run a marathon, that spike in training is something your body is not prepared to handle, and you will get injured.
Instead, if you gradually increase your training over time, your body will be able to adapt (adaptation, remember?), thus drastically decreasing your risk of injury.
BUT, we still have to remember the TOTAL volume factor (point #2): you want to gradually increase your body tolerance to exercise, although without overtraining.
4. TRAINING BACKGROUND
If you’ve been training for years to run marathons, and one day you want to squat heavy ass to grass, you will get injured, because your body is prepared to run, NOT to squat!
And viceversa: if you’ve been a power lifter your whole life, you will get injured if you try to run a marathon out of the blue!
5. PRIOR INJURIES
If you suffered from an injury in the past, its more likely for you to injure that same part again in the future.
For example: if you’ve injured, let’s say, your knee in the past, unfortunately it’s more likely for you to re-injure your knee again.
Lack of sleep (or poor quality one) predicts the development of chronic pain.
On top of that, sleeping less than 8 hours can indeed significantly increase your risk of injury.
So make sure to get those 8 hours of good quality sleep!
Poor eating habits can lead to injuries.
If we don’t fuel our body properly, it won’t be as resilient to sustain stress as we’d want it to be.
Taking care of our diet is fundamental in order to allow our body to recover and get stronger, especially after a workout.
So make sure you nourish your body right (and don’t do drugs!)
Whenever we are stressed out (e.g. because of deadlines, big changes, financial problems,…) we produce an hormone called “Cortisol”.
Cortisol makes us feel MORE pain, because it lowers our pain threshold.
This means that we can feel pain way more easily than usual, even with stimuli than normally wouldn’t be painful at all!
So do something to lower your stress levels, such as some self-care, exercise, walking, meditating, yoga, journaling, listening to music,…anything you enjoy!
9. PSYCHOSOCIAL FACTORS
These refer to your social relationships and your personal thoughts and behaviors.
For example, if you are part of a team where all members train a lot, you may be pushed to train harder and harder, even beyond your body’s capabilities, and this could easily lead to injury.
Or maybe your social circle likes to party a lot, so you end up eating bad, drinking a lot, doing drugs and sleeping poorly; and as we saw, these factors all lead to injury.
Now that we saw what are the 9 reasons why people (especially athletes) get injured, we also know what to do in order to reduce the risk injury: we need to keep this 9 factors in check.
And we can do this by: performing exercises with appropriate form, avoiding overtraining and spikes in training, considering our training background and previous injuries and taking care of our sleep, nutrition, stress and psychosocial factors.
There you have it: these are the “secrets” to prevent the risk of injury!
P.S. have you noticed that NO “massage”, “stretching”, “foam rolling” or other nonsense is listed? 😜
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Thanks for Reading!