Who wants to get injured? Being unable to participate in your favourite sport or even to attend to your usual daily activities because of an injury is really frustrating. A serious injury can mean more than a long time off training and other things you like. It also means pain and a lot of rehabilitation. I don’t know anyone who wants to go through this and I believe that education on preventing injuries and the importance of preparing the body to exercise is vital for everyone.
I know many people who don’t want to go through warm up, stretches and warm down (cool down). The sooner you realise that those three plus proper rest are part of taking care of your body and minimising the risk of getting injured the safer you stay.
Did you know that
most common causes of injury:
- No warm up before training session
- Excessive loading which applies forces to your tissues for which they are not prepared
- Poor exercise technique
- Muscle weakness or imbalances
- Lack of flexibility (causes decrease in joint Range of Movement and limits body capabilities)
- Previous injury
- Inappropriate equipment
- Genetic factors – may influence shape and structure of your joints
- Joint laxity – condition which can make it difficult to control and stabilize your joints.
Best way to prevent an injury is to address points listed above and
prepare your body for exercise:
- Asses your level of health and fitness or rather get a professional to assess those two for you.
- Choose or get an exercise professional to choose and create a specific training program suited for your capabilities and your chosen sport requirements (if that’s the case).
- Always warm up properly before your training.
- Make sure you eat well and get enough rest to recover from your workouts.
- Stick to the exercise program designed for you – build up gradually and don’t overdo it.Now we got to the concept of periodization.
Periodization is the process of varying a training program into specific time intervals to bring optimal gains in physical performance. The aim of periodization is to achieve improved biomotor skills such as: strength, endurance, speed, motor performance, and also muscle hypertrophy. In short words- to achieve improved physical performance. Periodization is a concept developed to aid a competitive athlete in reaching a peak physical performance at a particular point in time, such as for a major competition. The same concept works if your goal is overall health and fitness.
How does a periodized training program help preventing injuries?
If properly designed, a periodized training plan will engage a person in gradually progressing physical activity allowing all body systems to adopt in their pace to new stimulants. Muscles grow stronger and bigger, bones, tendons and ligaments become stronger, nervous system learns how to recruit more efficient neural connections, motor skills and coordination improves.
On the contrary, if a person trains with an extensive load instead of increasing it from low to maximum gradually their bone density and strength may decrease. And the loss in bone strength leaves them prone to injuries (fractures).
Quite a similar story is true for tendons. They adopt new stimulants over a long period of time. If the muscle growth exceeds the rate of tendons adaptation, tendons may not become strong enough to withstand the force of the muscle movement.
Every periodized training plan is based on strength. There are few types of strength. General strength is the foundation for all the rest. If it is not in the centre of attention during early stages of any training plan the body will become susceptible to injuries.
On the other hand, a well-designed periodized training plan allows to build that foundation gradually thus making it possible for the body to adapt to increments in loads and training intensities. That is achieved through improved: neuromuscular coordination, joints flexibility, tendons and ligaments strength and core strength. The body grows stronger and injury is less likely to occur.
Periodization of training plan also allows both progress and adequate recovery. Without this balance a person can reach undesirable state of overtraining which again increases the risk of injury.
As you can see safe training options are available. You can use periodization concept to plan your training smart and stay safe or alternatively, you can put yourself at risk and suffer for a long time.