Injury / Discomfort, unfortunately go with the territory when it comes to exercise. Please, don’t give up! When starting any kind of physical activity, you will experience muscle fatigue. It stinks, but it’s normal. Depending on what activity you’ve decided to start with, you’re working muscles in a way they’re not used to. Even if you’re extremely active, for example an avid runner, when you decide to try an alternate activity, say a boot camp or HIIT class, you’re going to hurt the next day. There’s actually a few approaches that may work to prevent you from giving up. 1. Rest day 2. Active Recovery 3. SMR (Self-Myofascial Release) – I actually like to partake in all 3 suggestions.
A rest day is the most difficult. I mean seriously, who can actually do nothing all day. It’s just not realistic for most of us. The only time I take a complete rest day is the day after running a marathon. I typically catch up on Netflix shows and movies. Even that is difficult to do. Life goes on and lying around watching TV is just not something most of us can do. But, if you’re really sore and you can completely take a load off and rest, do it! Your body will thank you. Please note, sitting at a desk in front of your computer is not considered rest. Sitting is terrible for you and will only make you hurt worse. Especially your back, shoulders/neck & butt/thighs – basically every part of your body.
Active recovery is best. I do this on a daily basis. It just means doing an alternative activity every day if possible or the same activity differently. For example, I usually do a long run on Sunday mornings of 10 plus miles, therefore Monday mornings I will focus on yoga and abdominal work to give my legs a break. Some excellent active recovery activities are yoga, hiking, walking, swimming, cycling and using lighter weights. It depends on the intensity of your work out. For instance cycling is pretty intense if you’re going for a long ride working on speed and hill climbing. Therefore, your active recovery the next day may be an easy run with a good amount of stretching afterwards. You be the judge on what you feel is best for your body.
SMR (Self-Myofascial Release)
SMR (Self-Myofascial Release) is basically fitting in a massage if you can or simply breaking out your foam roller. If you have the time and money to get a massage weekly, go for it. It’s great for your muscles, joints and mind. I wish I could get a massage weekly. I prefer deep tissue for 60 – 90 min. to really get the knots out. I go to Balance Massage Studio in Delmar NY. Denise, the owner is very accommodating and able to fit me in, usually last-minute when I feel I really need it. I like to go a few days before running a marathon and then again 1 week after running a marathon. Generally, I rely on my foam roller to get the kinks out. It’s a bit tedious and I really have to make a conscious effort to do it at least twice per week. My goal is to do it every other day, because it’s so necessary. Especially when die-hard marathon training begins in July. I’m running a marathon in October, so foam rolling is necessary to help prevent injury. Injury is more than muscle fatigue. It stinks, and will prevent you from following through with your goal race which you’ve worked so hard to accomplish. Nobody wants that feeling of defeat hanging over their head. It’s a difficult rut to pull yourself out of. So as annoying and tedious foam rolling is for most of us, just do it. In grand scheme of things, you’ll be forever grateful.
So, hopefully my suggestions can help you through the natural fatigue your body will take on when participating in new or different forms of exercise. An actual injury has many forms, but there are ways to remain physically active. You should never just stop physical activity all together. You’ll actually feel worse. Depending on the injury, if you need to seek medical attention, your doctor will advise whats best and your physical therapist will not only give you specific exercises to do, but will help you do them properly. My physical therapist at Rocklein Physical Therapy in Delmar NY, gave me a resistance band and instructions 2 years ago for an ankle injury. I still follow the regime on a regular basis. Without these exercises, I’d probably not be running anymore. Great form is everything. I think I mentioned in a previous post regarding exercise classes, if you go to a class and the instructor does not give a thorough demonstration or a modification, time to go elsewhere. More than likely people will experience an injury. Nobody wants or deserves that.
What forms of recovery do you practice? Any other suggestions or approaches that I may have left out? Feedback please!