Here in Boise, outdoor exercise can be limited in the summer by high heat and poor air quality. And in winter, the darkness, mud and cold can slow us down. When the weather is finally nice out, it can be tempting to increase your exercise to “make up” for lost time. However, this can lead to overuse. We want you to avoid overtraining injuries in the first place. Read on for some tips to avoid injury, and if you’ve already injured yourself, get into physical therapy so you can get back on track.
Symptoms of overtraining or overuse are:
- Pain that is different than your normal muscle soreness
- Sleep disturbance
- Making movement mistakes while exercising
- Decreased ability to cope with stress
The best ways to avoid overtraining/overuse are:
- Progress your training and exercise slowly and gradually
- Plan for recovery – recovery can be taking a rest day, or taking an easy walk
- Cross-train from your most common ways of exercising – use different muscle groups and focus on stretching the muscles that you train the hardest
- Treat yourself well (you know the drill — get enough sleep, eat healthy food, drink enough water, be kind to yourself, etc.)
To avoid overtraining injuries, you’ll need to plan for long term and sustainable progress rather than rapid gains. (Not very flashy–I know). Just like food dieting, you want to plan on changes you can make next year, and the year after. Your future self will thank you.
If you’re reading these and the feeling is a bit too familiar, go see your physical therapist. We can help you manage training, optimize your mechanics, and help you get back to the activities you love!