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How to Avoid an Exercise Injury

A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about exercise fears, asking readers what scares them most about exercise. The overwhelming choice? Injury.

I think fear of injuring one's self is a healthy fear. After all, there are plenty of studies (like this one) suggesting that injury could be just one workout away. In fact, I remember reading a Canadian Health Survey suggesting that some 20% of the females surveyed and more than 40% of the males surveyed suffered an exercise injury.

However, the most important statistic is this: 100% of injuries cause pain and, I don't have a study backing this up but, pain hurts.

The key to dealing with this fear is to face it with a few tricks up your sleeve: Easing into your workouts, warming up and using good form, just to name a few (and you can find more ideas in How to Avoid Exercise Injury).

However, it also helps to remind yourself of a few things:

  • You may get hurt anyway - There's an inherent risk in any type of movement, whether it's lifting dumbbells or pushing a broom. Just as you can't always avoid catching a cold or the flu, no matter how many times you wash your hands, you can't always avoid an injury. That reminder may help ease some of the frustration and guilt that often accompanies an injury.
  • There are ways to keep execising, even if you are injured - The worst thing some of us do when we get hurt is to get frustrated and quit. While you may need rest to heal your injury, you can almost always exercise some part of your body (with your doctor's clearance, of course). Keeping some kind of routine going, even if it's only a fraction of what you were doing, keeps the momentum going and gives you more control over your situation.

The last thing you want to do is to let your fear paralyze you into doing nothing.

So, what about you? Have you ever let your fear of injury stop you from exercising? Or maybe you have a chronic injury you're always dealing with and have some advice. Leave a comment and tell us about your experiences.

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