All Entries For injury

8 Signs Your Cardio Workouts Are Doing More Harm Than Good

Aerobic exercise (think running, biking, and jumping rope) is good for your health, helps with weight loss and generally makes you feel good.  But believe it or not, you can have too much of a good thing—even exercise.  It's important to find the balance between challenging yourself, making exercise a regular part of your daily routine, and doing more harm than good. But where exactly is the line where a healthy amount becomes too much?
Posted 3/19/2014  5:00:00 AM By: Jen Mueller : 11 comments   180,229 views
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How to Prevent Weight Gain When You're Injured

Exercising regularly can be a challenge for many people even when they are healthy and injury-free. To maintain your fitness level, you have to be committed—and consistent—in your exercise routine. In my new book, The Art of Fitness: A Journey to Self-Enhancement, I dedicate two chapters to these principles alone because I know firsthand just how many people struggle to keep exercise a habit.
But what about those of us who suffer from an injury? As if there weren't enough barriers getting in the way of your desire to work out, an injury can really set you back—if you let it. Here are seven easy-to-do tips to assist you in maintaining your fitness level when you are dealing with an injury.
Posted 1/23/2013  6:00:00 PM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 29 comments   30,224 views
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You Asked: ''How Can I Exercise with a Sprained Ankle?

When recovering from a sprain, the first goal is to slowly regain a full range of movement. The first 24 hours are important for icing, rest and elevation to reduce the amount of inflammation. It's important to start rehabilitation exercises as soon as possible, depending on the severity of the sprain. 

If you can’t do weight bearing exercises, try this: Rotate your ankle and point your toes in different directions, spelling the alphabet with your toes to improve range of motion. You can also use a towel or resistance band to provide a little resistance at the ankle to help build up strength again. 

Once you feel comfortable with weight bearing exercises, try this one: Stand against a wall (with your side to the wall) with your sprained foot supported on one side by the wall. Put all weight on that one foot. Start with 5-10 seconds and work your way up to longer times. If you are able to walk on it, take out the hills and inclines if you can, until you don't feel any pain. Taking shorter walks--if you don't feel pain when walking-- is also a good idea.

Additionally, you could try a seated workout that will get your heart pumping without putting weight on your ankle at all. Be patient and listen to your body; you don't want to push yourself too hard and risk further injury.
Posted 12/5/2012  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 3 comments   20,023 views
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How to Injure Yourself at the Gym

Although I’ve been a fitness coach for years, I will admit that I don’t always practice what I preach.  I don’t stretch quite as much as I should, and as a result, I’ve sustained frustrating injuries that could easily have been avoided. 
Whether you’re new to exercise or a workout veteran, we all make workout mistakes from time to time.  While some can be harmless—where the only consequence is burning fewer calories—others can lead to serious problems. Here are four common fitness mistakes that can lead to serious injury if you don't catch them early. 
Posted 11/5/2012  10:00:00 AM By: Jen Mueller : 14 comments   31,556 views
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8 Ways to Keep Active When You Can't Exercise Like Normal

A few weeks ago, I had a spot removed from my shoulder. My dermatologist cut out a pretty hefty chunk that required several stitches and has left me with a one-inch scar.
Relief that the sketchy spot was history was soon replaced by panic when I was given post-op instructions:
  • no lifting more than 10 pounds
  • no lifting my arm past 90 degrees
  • no running
  • no bike riding or Spinning
  • no yoga involving arms or any weight on the wrists
None of that for two weeks. TWO WEEKS! What?

I exercise for a lot of reasons: for my health, to keep my weight in check, to get stronger, to help deal with stress, for the feeling it gives me, because I like it. I like staying active, and I find that the more I move, the better I feel. My back pain flares up if I skip even two days of yoga, I notice my anxiety levels rise on days I don't work out, and I just feel like something is missing from my day if I haven't sweated at least once. In addition to running two or three days a week, I usually take a weekly Pilates and Spinning class, and I walk a lot on weekends and in the evenings.

I had been forewarned that yoga would be out--no weight on the arms or wrists. But running? No running? And no Spinning? I actually cried a little.

As I lay face down on the table, I thought about all I could do, and I decided to use this as a chance to focus on exercises that I usually skimp on--power walking, core exercises, and strength training.

These two weeks would be good for me.

So what did I do?
Posted 10/4/2012  2:00:00 PM By: Stepfanie Romine : 42 comments   36,075 views
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You Asked: ''Do Ankle Wraps or Knee Braces Keep Weak Joints Safe During Exercise?''

Braces and other supportive devices are great to use when recovering from an injury and to prevent re-injuring a joint that is still unstable from a previous injury. 

Braces can give the joint the support it is lacking because of poor ligament stability or weakness of the muscles surrounding the joint. However, your ultimate goal should be to restore your joint's strength and stability so that it can support itself without a brace. 
Posted 4/25/2012  6:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 2 comments   8,136 views
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4 Reasons to Stop Stretching Before You Exercise

By now, you probably know how important it is to warm up before you work out. Warming up prepares your body for the increased demands of physical activity, reducing your risk of injury and complications. Beyond sending more oxygen and blood flow to your muscles, a proper warm up also prepares you mentally for what's to come—a workout that may take concentration, coordination and a little motivation.

The one thing you shouldn't do at this time is the very thing that most people do: stretch. So why is stretching before a workout a bad idea?
Posted 4/23/2012  12:00:00 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 158 comments   155,896 views
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When Exercise Hurts More Than Helps

For the past 9 years, I’ve called myself a runner.  It started because I moved to a new town with no access to the workout facilities I’d had before, so running became an easy substitute- no equipment needed.  Running quickly became an important part of my life, both physically and mentally.  There was a period of time when I wouldn’t bother with a run that was any shorter than 6 miles because I didn’t consider it to be much of a workout.  Because of kids and other life circumstances, those days are long gone…..
In the fall of 2010 I experienced my first serious running injury, Achilles tendonitis.  I made the problem worse by continuing to push through pain instead of listening to my body and resting.  I ended up in 6 weeks of physical therapy and had to stop running for a few months.  When the PT told me I couldn’t run, I panicked.  Running was such an important part of my life, and who would I be without it?  How would I relieve stress?  How would I get a good workout? 
Posted 1/31/2012  10:00:00 AM By: Jen Mueller : 57 comments   12,702 views
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Kneehab: 5 Yoga-Inspired Moves to Tune Up Your Knees

Knee pain can come on suddenly: a sideways blow in athletics or a nasty fall while stepping off a curb. But many knee issues creep up after years of poor alignment, which results in wear and tear and arthritis. No matter the cause, knee issues do not often exist in isolation. In other words, a "cranky" knee will often have an un-neighborly relationship with the ankle below it, and/or the hip above it.  
Whatever detonated your knee pain, the tissues above and below the knee must be nurtured, strengthened and given some "KneeHab" in order for the knee to learn some new strategies for pain-free living. And don't forget the other knee, hip and ankle on the non-injured side, as it will also develop its own issues too from being "leaned on" so often. These compensation attempts inevitably lead to low back pain, neck and shoulder pain—and more yuck. 
My Yoga Tune Up® Quick Fix Rx: KneeHab DVD ($19.95) provides solutions whether your knee is wonky from sports, you're recovering from meniscus surgery or you are just looking to prevent knee injury. It will show you how to help manage just about every stage of knee dysfunction and maintenance. Here are five Yoga Tune Up® moves from my DVD to keep your knees happy, healthy and pain free!
Posted 12/21/2011  6:00:00 PM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 21 comments   19,542 views
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Staying on Track When You're Hurt

I don't know about you, but for me, this year has not gone according to plan, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I've had a lot of great things happen this year, but I've also had what I think is more than my fair share of injuries, which most have been pretty random. As I reflect on the year so far and my current situation, I am reminded of something that John Lennon once said: “Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.” The more I reflect on this year, the more I find this to be such a true statement. Although, I know I’m not the only one that has found themself with an injury this year, as I have seen numerous Message Board posts on SparkPeople about members having various injuries and wondering how they can continue their healthy lifestyle plan with the injury.

My latest injury is a torn ligament and broken bone in one of my fingers, which makes everything harder to do one handed, including typing. I also had to have surgery to repair the damage, and that definitely was not in any of my plans for this year. Because of how bad the injury was, I did have to skip out on some workouts, along with alter my original workout schedule, but I didn’t let it get me down or distract me from keeping my healthy habits and reaching my other goals. When injuries happen, it can be really easy to fall in the trap of the “all-or-nothing approach,” but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Posted 10/20/2011  2:00:00 PM By: Denise Tausig : 46 comments   12,933 views
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4 Lessons Learned from Listening to My Body

After my thwarted attempt at running a marathon this spring, I gave up on running for awhile. I walked, I practiced yoga, and I rode my bike. I wanted nothing to do with running. 

That lasted less than two months. I missed the exhilarating feeling of flying down a hill, the sense of accomplishment when you reach the top of one, and the sound of my breath, deep and even, as I jogged through my neighborhood and let my troubles blow away.

I was slow to return, and I didn't set any goals. I started from scratch with a mile here and there. When I felt better, I slowly added mileage. With no pressure, no race deadlines and no plans in mind, I felt free. I fell back in love with the sport.
I did something else, too.

I started to listen to my body a bit more. Remember that quote I love and continue to share with all of you? "We don’t have to make such a big deal about ourselves, our enemies, our lovers, and the whole show." --Pema Chödrön

I started to apply it to running. I started leaving my music at home sometimes, setting out with no course or destination in mind, with no distance to reach. I ran at a pace that felt comfortable, until I felt like walking or going home. Sometimes I ran for 10 minutes, sometimes an hour--though that length of time came much later.

I stopped looking at abbreviated runs as failures. I stopped thinking of runs in terms of miles logged or calories burned. I stopped scheduling them, too.

I found that I started looking forward to my runs more. They weren't a chore, they weren't something to check off my to-do list. They were a treat, a respite from my overly scheduled, jam-packed, grown-up life.

After a great deal of research, I made the transition to minimalist running shoes (mine are the Merrell Barefoot Pace Gloves). (I'm no expert, so please know that this blog reflects choices that are right for me--I'm not offering advice. Please consult with an expert before you make any major changes to your fitness routine.) I also read the book that so many fellow runners have cited as a major influence on their running philosophy: Born to Run.  Footwear aside, the Tarahumara Indians and the American ultra runners featured in the book inspired me. They run to run, and many of them embrace the simple, tread-gently-on-the-Earth lifestyle that I value.

I'll switch back to regular shoes if this barefoot lifestyle proves not to be right for me. Until then, I'm very slowly and cautiously increasing my mileage and easing back into running. In shifting my focus from prepping for a race to just running to run, I've gleaned four lessons, just from listening to my body:
Posted 9/21/2011  6:00:00 AM By: Stepfanie Romine : 48 comments   13,337 views
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Your Running Surface May Not be Responsible for Your Running Injury

As an avid reader on the topic of running, what I have discovered in reading over 80 books on this subject is that the theory of running injuries varies as far and wide as the number of books I have on my shelf. Some have gone so far as to blame the shoes we wear or elect not to wear, while others blame our running form, while others blame the running surface and some even go so far as to blame the sport of running itself.

Last summer I wrote a blog on the best surfaces for runners to hone their skills. I did extensive research on this topic and was a firm believer that the type of surface we ran on either prevented or was responbile for causing many running injuries. However, my thought has shifted after reading several articles disputing the fact that there is no an ideal running surface for any of us.

After speaking with running coaches in my area on this topic, even attending several running workshops and a running symposium earlier this summer led by running coach and runner, Greg McMillan, I am taking a different approach as to what I believe is responsible for the injury rate amongst runners. In an article published earlier this summer in the New York Times, Dr. Hirofumi Tanaka, an exercise physiologist at the University of Texas, states, "he could not find any scientific evidence that a softer surface is beneficial to runners, nor could other experts he asked." But what may be responsible for the running injuries is making a sudden shift to a different running surface.
Posted 8/30/2011  6:00:00 PM By: Nancy Howard : 22 comments   10,197 views
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When Your Body Speaks, Do You Listen?

I've always been someone who pushes myself, whether during a workout, setting goals or finishing a daily to-do list.  Sometimes that's a good quality to have because I'm able to accomplish a lot of things (like running marathons or balancing work with the demands of raising young children.)  Sometimes, it's not such a great quality to possess, because I tend to ignore the signs from my body that it's time to slow down.  I've been doing a lot of ignoring lately, and I'm starting to realize that it could do more harm than good.
Posted 7/5/2011  2:00:00 PM By: Jen Mueller : 35 comments   13,289 views
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4 Easy Ways to Avoid Injury in the Weight Room

Strength training is an important part of any workout program, but it's not without its risks. That's why I am always (over)emphasizing safety and form in my workout videos and in real life when I lead people through a class. When you're hoisting weights around, especially when attempting new moves your body isn't accustomed to, your risk of injury goes way up compared to exercises that use your body weight alone.

Case in point: A study published last year in the American Journal of Sports Medicine found that between 1990 and 2007, almost 1 million Americans injured themselves badly enough to warrant visits to the ER. And during that nearly two-decade time period, strength-training injuries increased by 48% annually.

These injuries ran the gamut from minor sprains and strains to serious issues like dropping weights on one's own body or crushing a body part (like a foot or hand) between weights or weight equipment. Ouch.

But don't think that only newbies are at risk. It's easy to slack off on your form when you've been lifting weights for a while, and the fitter you get, the heavier weights you should be lifting—which means you're even more at risk. So whether you're new to weight training or a seasoned pro, here are four quick tips to remember so you can stay away from the doctor, too!
Posted 5/11/2011  9:00:00 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 13 comments   12,714 views
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Confession: I Didn't Run a Marathon

Early this year, I shared a goal with you: I would run my first marathon on May 1.

Guess what? I didn't run it.

My training went well until I hit the double digits. I read up about marathon training, selected a plan for beginners and rose early several mornings a week to run. I did everything right, or so I thought.

I struggled to keep myself hydrated and fed properly while dealing with stomach issues on long runs. I fell 10 miles in to a 15-mile run, scraping and bruising my knees. I bonked during my 16-mile run, which is when I talked to Nancy about fueling and pace. (I was running too fast to sustain my pace over long distances, and I wasn't eating enough during my runs.)

I rebounded, had a wonderful 15-mile run, followed by a half-marathon in D.C. There, I pulled my hamstring and couldn't walk properly for three days. A sharp pain in my left tibia, which had been diagnosed a year ago as tendonosis, returned and worsened. After a few days of rest, in the midst of moving, I caught a sinus infection, which left me unable to run for a week. When I finally got back out there, my leg wasn't fully healed.

That day, as I hobbled home, I made the decision to drop from the full to the half marathon, and later, to defer my entry until next year. Friends who had also run marathons encouraged me through the tough times. One said she had only run as far as 16 miles before race day; another said he couldn't walk up stairs for two weeks after his first marathon.

Truth be told, I still could have run, but I likely wouldn't feel great today. There will always be another race, and I am accountable only to myself.

Posted 5/2/2011  5:39:51 AM By: Stepfanie Romine : 83 comments   14,660 views
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