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Olympic Weekend Warriors: Don't Overdo It

Olympic Weekend Warriors: Don't Overdo It

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By    |   Thursday, 11 August 2016 11:25 AM

Inspired by the 2016 Olympics to up your fitness routine? Taking your workout or recreational sports activity to a new level could be a good thing for your body and mind. Just be sure not to overdo it.

That’s the advice from Dr. Daniel Vigil, a sports medicine specialist at the University of California-Los Angeles, who says you should embrace your Olympic enthusiasm and go for your own gold, but take care not to do too much too quickly.

“As the world watches sports like triathlon, cycling, swimming and more, many of those who cheer on the champs are inspired and motivated themselves — whether it’s to step up their game on a sport they already love or take on a whole new physical challenge,” he notes. “[But] acknowledge your body’s limitations and tailor your training accordingly.”

Vigil offers the following tips for Olympic weekend warriors to prevent injury:

Know your personal parameters. It’s a big mistake to push yourself too hard, particularly when beginning a new workout regimen — especially if you have arthritis, weak knees, back problems, or other physical limitations. It’s best to start slow and your work way into a more aggressive workout.

“For example, if you know you have weak knees or arthritis in your knees, you'll want to build up strength but avoid exercises that hurt or aggravate them,” says Vigil. “That may mean gliding on the elliptical machine or using a rather than walking on the stair stepper, rather than taking on the impact of a treadmill or jogging outdoors.

“And remember, the ‘no pain, no gain’ philosophy can set you up for an injury. If ‘ouch’ is at the tip of your tongue, it may be time to stop your workout, and rest for a day.

Stretch out, warm up, go slow. You’re less likely to get injured if you do dynamic stretches before and after you work out — regardless of the activity you’re doing.

“Warm up with an activity that uses the same muscles you'll use during your workout to gradually rev up your cardiovascular system, increase blood flow to your muscles and raise your body temperature; and gradually build up the pace (intensity, duration, and frequency) of your workout to ensure proper technique along the way,” Vigil advises.

Don’t overdo it. Doing one exercise over and over can help you master it, but it can also lead to overuse and repetitive-strain injuries such as shin splints and tendinitis.

“Vary your workout routine from day to day so you don’t overuse one set of muscles,” Vigil says. “Finally, give yourself time to rest and recover between workouts. The best way to keep a small injury from becoming a larger one is to rest the sore muscle.”

Seek expert advice. It’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor about your fitness level and your goals before starting a new workout. Working with a personal trainer is also a great way to get off on the right foot.

“Take a few lessons with a qualified personal trainer or coach for your sport. They can create a safe and realistic program for your body type and age, as well as help you moderate your routines so you don’t do too much, too soon,” Vigil advises.

“The right program will allow muscles to heal properly, which in turn helps avoid some of the more common injuries. Finally, they can ensure your body is in proper position or alignment while you’re working out or practicing, which can go a long way toward protecting you from injuries.”


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If you're inspired by the Rio Olympics to up your fitness routine that could be a good thing for your body and mind. Just be sure not to overdo it, a sports medicine specialist advises. Here are four tips to take to heart.
olympic, workouts
Thursday, 11 August 2016 11:25 AM
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