Being injured is a frustrating time and treatment options can be confusing – should I keep training with less volume or totally rest? And how do I prevent injuries flaring up again? Follow these guidelines below from Sports Chiropractor Chris Vorillas to keep your body strong and maintain a balance of good health.
Tips on how to prevent injury
Undertake some form of strength and conditioning program
Injuries can arise from underlying weakness especially if we rely too much on traditional cardiovascular training and stamina but don’t focus on strength or building a stronger nervous system.
Including a strength and conditioning program in your training sessions is like taking out an insurance policy on your body. By including strength sessions from Pilates classes to a weights program at the gym, such as strength sets for major muscle groups for example dead lifts, this works on your motor control and how your brain controls your body.
By building strength this will allow your body to perform better, your brain’s control of your body will be more accurate and work more efficiently. If you don’t know where to start you can consult a PT, a strength and conditioning coach, an osteopath, physiotherapist or a chiropractor. So like how you undertake a training program for a race, or do track running sessions to build running strength it’s key to work on you body’s strength too.
Make sure you have adequate mobility
Your range of motion and flexibility with joints and tissues will effect how your move. You can improve your flexibility with stretching including Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) stretching, yoga, foam rolling or active mobilisation such as the yoga and Pilates Cat Cow spine mobilisation sequence.
Progress to stability
Having a good grounding with your feet is a good way to prevent injuries, such as wearing appropriate footwear and when running having a good mid-to-forefoot strike and rate. This will ensure proper stability that goes up the chain of muscles when running.
To improve your stability an assessment from a professional manual therapist can break down where there is dysfunction and work on movement patterns and a specific program to correct these.
Don’t increase volume too quickly
Be careful about increasing your training volume too much too soon. If you’re over- training, you risk injury. The general rule is that you should not increase your mileage by more than 10 per cent weekly. It’s a good idea to work with a coach who prescribes a program so you can build up to your goal race distance in a safe way.
What do to when you’re injured
Rest is often not best
Depending on the injury, avoiding the movement doesn’t necessarily help it heal. Rather than just avoiding movement a proper assessment is needed. Such as was the injury a result of trauma or a breakdown of muscle patterns that can’t handle the load? Or is one part of your body not doing its job efficiently so other muscle groups are taking on more load?
A professional can look at a global perspective not just the site of pain as this can miss the big picture.
If you are eating an excess of inflammatory foods or have a high acidic diet this won’t aid the healing process. Also if you’re not drinking enough water and not eating enough fruit and vegetables you will not alkalise your gut which will hamper the healing process.
Not too much caffeine
Too much caffeine will increase the function of your nervous system (sympathetic) what makes things go into overdrive so your body works harder and slows down the healing process.
Get enough sleep
If healing you should have a minimum of 8 hours sleep a night.