Many of the Personal Training clients I work with present with injuries of varying degrees before they commence training. For some this is a catalyst to their training as they are unsure of how to go about getting fit due to an injury they may have been carrying for some time. As there are such a broad range of injuries that the general population carry, it is hard to be too specific here and I will refer to the more ‘common’ injuries that I see on a regular basis such as soft tissue tears, strains, joint problems, back and neck strains, weaknesses etc.
It is always in my view imperative to have your injury assessed before exercising particularly if you are about to commence exercise after a break or for the first time. A physiotherapist, Osteopath or a visit to your GP is the first port of call so you can have a correct diagnosis and know what you are dealing with. For many soft tissue injuries, it is fine to exercise although caution is warranted and modification of a particular program is necessary. Sometimes however, complete rest may be necessary depending upon the level of damage and for correct healing to take place. For more complex injuries particularly with the neck or spine, it is absolutely necessary to be assessed and quite often, a modified exercise plan is necessary for the treatment to be effective.
Many of the back and neck problems I see are due to weakness in the abdominal or core section and through the constant ‘slouching’ use of computers and poor postural practices. Carrying excess weight can also contribute to joint problems as well as many other health problems. In fact, the vast majority of people I work with have some sort of underlying injury or pain associated with lack of strength, fitness and poor lifestyle habits which show significant improvements quickly with a regular modified exercise plan.
It is not unusual for people who have had joint problems, surgery, arthritis and the like to stop movement because they think they should stop. It is important to know that there are many different ways to exercise to work with an injury or pain to improve strength, flexibility, range of motion and quality of life. This said; it is also crucial to seek professional advice before commencing your exercise program so you don’t do any further damage. So if you have an injury, don’t use it as an excuse to gain weight, let your fitness diminish and stop moving. Get it assessed and be pro-active, organise a program and include healthy lifestyle habits; you may well be amazed what you actually can achieve. Who knows, you may even get fit!