The benefits of exercise are well-documented, with near universal improvements ranging from strength and mobility to mental health and stability. More than 10 million UK citizens own a membership to a gym or fitness centre, with many more exercising regularly either at home or by going on regular runs and bicycle rides.
A new wave of interest in fitness has been spawned by the growth in popularity of alternative activities such as indoor rock climbing and even skateboarding. These more extreme forms of exercise come with heightened risk of injury – but it is also true that any form of exercise can cause injury, in a variety of ways and for a variety of reasons. So, what are the most common forms of injury due to exercise?
The Most Common Forms of Exercise Injury
Strains and Sprains
According to the NHS, strains and sprains are the most common forms of injury when it comes to exercise. Strains are muscular injuries, that occur when muscle tissue is torn or stretched out. Sprains, meanwhile, are a result of torn or stretched muscle ligaments. These injuries often occur as a side effect of overextension or poor warm-up routine.
Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain can result from exercise for much the same reasons as sitting at a desk for prolonged periods of time: posture. Poor posture when exercising can put unhealthy strain on certain muscles in your back, and even place painful pressure on nerve roots in the vertebral column.
The knees receive a lot of punishment during exercise, and are prone to injury as a result of their central role in our day-to-day lives. Whether performing squats, lifts or simple cardiovascular exercise, improper extension or bearing of weight can lead to injury – most commonly a ligament sprain.
Treating Exercise Injuries
Exercise injuries should be treated seriously, but are often relatively minor in scope. Immediately after noticing a sprain or strain, applying ice to the area can help prevent swelling and manage the pain. In the longer term, heat packs and pain relieving patches can help stimulate blood flow and speed up the healing process.
There is also a potential legal element to addressing your injury. If the injury you suffered was not your fault, for example if it was caused by faulty gym equipment, you could be liable to submit a personal injury claim and receive compensation. This compensation would cover any costs relating to recovery, including time taken off work and any potential mental health issues arising from it.
Preventing Exercise Injuries
Though exercise injuries are often light, they can still take you out of commission for several weeks. As such, seeking to limit the likelihood of suffering an exercise injury is the best approach. Warm-up exercises can ensure muscles are limber, and reduce the chances of strain. Observing correct posture when attempting weights-based exercise can lessen the stress on your lower back, and protect your joints in the process.