EVERY TIME I ATTEMPT WEIGHT LOSS, I END UP INJURED
A workout injury can happen to anyone, be it an elite athlete or a beginner at the local gym. Exercise is good for you, but they sometimes lead to injury. Research has shown that 20% of overweight individuals are successful at long-term weight loss which is defined as losing at least 10% of initial body weight. While many factors can be accounted for this slim chance one of the common causes of failure is exercise related injuries.
Exercise injury can be either acute or chronic.
Chronic injury is the result of prolonged, repetitive motion that is particularly common in aerobic training such as running, cycling and occasionally due to lifting weights. Some common examples of chronic injuries are stress fractures, tennis elbow, shin splint, runner’s knee and heel inflammation. These injuries are commonly related to improper techniques for eg., trying to progress too fast or overdoing certain motions while working out.
An acute injury, on the other hand, is an injury that occurs suddenly and is usually associated with trauma such as cracking a bone, tearing a muscle or bruising. It could be a result of falling or crashing.
At Forte physio, we always advice our clients to understand their own body. We educate them on the science behind weight loss, what to expect and clearly give them a picture of the path to fat loss without injuring themselves.
Below are some of the best ways to prevent injury during your weight loss program.
1. Be Realistic
You need to understand your body what a reasonable goal for weight loss is. Keep a healthy discussion with your physio or trainer and explain your shortcomings. You should realise, losing weight is a long-term project and take it reasonably slowly.
Hastening the process or rushing to achieve weight loss invariably results in injury ending up in cessation of the program.
2. Get Educated about exercises
Before you join a weight loss program, educate yourselves by reading about the common exercise programs. You can YouTube
3. Preseason before gym
Preseason is not an elite term and does not belong just to the professional athletes. Start with mental practice of the exercises you may be involved with later. Do a familiar physical activity which you occasionally carry out at home. You may, for example volunteer to walk to buy groceries for your family, pick up a garden work or involve in the some household chores. This will improve your fitness levels and prepare you for the upcoming exercise program.
4. Get the program tailored for you
Your physiotherapist or exercise trainer will do certain basic fitness tests to ascertain what level of exercise intensity and duration will suit. This is commonly termed as FITT in the fitness world.
Your frequency of exercise per week, the intensity (pace or difficulty level) of exercise, the amount of time needed to do exercise and the type of exercise which will benefit you.
At Forte, our first phase of the VFex program is called “LetZ Get Physical”, in which a beginner may usually begin exercise utilising a fartlek training method. This method involves medium intensity workouts followed by easy pace. This phase is all about knowing the exercises, working out a comfortable phase, teaching proper ergonomics while exercising to prevent injuries. This enables the novices to slowly accustom to the exercise regimen and prevents overload and repetitive stress injuries.
5. Yes, please eat well
Start to eat nutritious foods. Discuss with your nutritionist on what is healthy and what is not. Most of the injury and pain occurs mostly due to lack of healthy eating habits. Though intermittent fasting can help weight loss, starving is not a good way to lose weight. It leads to injury and other health related disorders. Eat proper portion at proper intervals. Plan and prepare. Drink adequate amount of water to prevent exercise-related heat exhaustion and heat cramps.
6. Of course, sleep well
Our body-heating effects of exercise triggers a greater metabolic rate and cause increase in body temperature. A good sleep can help our body to refuel and prepare yourselves to a better work out the following day. Sleep deprivation, poor sleep pattern can affect the body and leave you tired and drained of energy. Lack of sleep is associated with longer periods of DOMS and muscle aches and may lead to chronic injuries. Hence, plan your day and bedtimes too.
7. And finally, have some discipline
Weight or Fat loss is not just exercising and dieting. 70 percent of your weight loss comes from lifestyle modifications. Stick to the exercise regimen, follow them diligently. Do not try beyond what is prescribed by your Physio or trainer. Maintain an exercise log diary to fill in your FIIT. This will help you sense, the pace at which you should progress. Do not skip the sessions. A few skipped sessions can result in reversibility making your prescribed load to be excessive overload leading to injury. Always ensure you spend adequate time in warm up and cool down.
By incorporating these ideas you can exercise regularly and decrease your risk of injury. This can reduce your chances of failure when attempting a weight/fat loss program.
About the authors
Antony and Faizal are Principal physiotherapists at Forte Physio and Shanthi Priya clinic. Both having two decades of experience in the field realise their role to contribute knowledge and teach the upcoming physiotherapists. They share a common idea of improving overall community health.