Whether you commit to running a few times a week to try and be a bit healthier, or you are training to pull a train with your teeth at the next Iron Man competition, anyone who works out should be commended for doing so. But regardless of whether you are a beginner or a veteran at the gym, you are always at risk of getting injured. Unfortunately, there are some very prevalent myths about injuries in the workout world, so in this post, we’re going to look at 5 of the biggest myths about getting injured.
Myth 1 - No Pain, No Gain
We’ve all heard this one before. We’re often told that working out is supposed to be hard work, and that sometimes you just need to push through the pain, or walk it off. This is possibly one of the most damaging myths out there, as it actually makes it more likely that you will injure yourself. Pain is your body’s way of telling you that it has reached its limit, and if you keep going after that, you’re going to push it past breaking point, literally. While a little discomfort at times is okay, you should never work out if you are in pain.
Myth 2 - Transference
If you do experience pain, you may be tempted to just avoid working on that area, and focus on other parts of the body. While this can sometimes be acceptable, you should never just assume it is. Often, the cause of the pain we feel is not located where we actually feel the pain, but in another part of the body. We have spoken before about how an injury of the plantar fascia in the foot could be the cause of back pain, for example. This is known as transference or transferred pain, and it is more common than you might think. So if you do feel some pain, get it checked out to ensure the cause before continuing your workout.
Myth 3 - Rest is Best
Although rest is a good response to lots of different injuries, it is not the only answer. If you have sprained your ankle or pulled a muscle, you of course want to take some of the pressure off for a while. But that doesn’t mean you should stop all activity altogether. While you may not be able to continue you regular routine, you should still do some sort of maintenance exercise, even if it’s just light aerobics. Depending on the nature of your injury, you should also be doing some exercises to encourage it to heal properly as well.
Myth 4 - Use a cold/heat Pack
Using cold or heat packs is not a bad idea in itself, but it is important to know when to use which one. An ice pack should generally be used for acute injuries that are swollen. The cold will help reduce the heat and swelling emanating from the injury, and speed up recovery. Heat packs on the other hand are generally used for stiff muscles or chronic pain.
Myth 5 - Rotating Days Will Prevent Injury
The idea behind having certain workout days, such as leg day or chest day, is to ensure you get a balanced, all over workout, and to give your body a few days to recover before going full force again. While this idea is good in theory, you need to be a little more conscientious to avoid injury for two reasons. The first is that if you do the same regimen for an extended period of time, even with days off, you increase your risk of developing an overuse injury from constantly working out the same muscles. Secondly, doing this could create a muscle imbalance over time, making you more susceptible to injuries in areas where certain muscles are much stronger than those around them. To avoid this, don’t just rotate your days, but also the exercises you do.
There will always be myths, rumours, and legends about what exercise can help you get fit the fastest, which new drink is the healthiest, or what superfood you should be eating. While generally harmless, the myths we have looked at here could end up causing some real harm if believed, so make sure you do your own research when you hear a great new tip, and don’t believe everything you hear or read.