Our bodies get used to patterns, both good and bad. Maybe you have developed the good pattern of exercising regularly, but suddenly you start to notice those twinges, aches, and pains that signal something isn’t quite right. Without realizing you’re doing it, you can easily slip into routines of overcompensation, bad form, and bad habits even in the midst of working out regularly that lead to recurring pain.
Our bodies let us know when we have reverted back to these bad patterns with recurring pain. Even though we may know how important paying attention to body alignment, good form, and stretching before or after working out are, it is easy to let these things slide in our haste to get out and get moving.
Here are a couple of easy checks you can do to prevent recurring pain and ensure you are not slipping into bad patterns:
Overcompensation is anticipation of recurring pain or accounting for recurring pain by favoring other muscle groups that aren’t in pain. The danger of overcompensation is that when you change your form while running or lifting weights to avoid recurring pain, you end up putting twice as much stress and strain on one muscle group. Putting double the amount of stress on one muscle group to avoid pain in another muscle group can cause injury and even lead to stress fractures.
Proper form is crucial while exercising. It may seem that once you have performed an exercise for a couple of months that you know the proper form, but you may find when you really concentrate on your how you are performing that exercise that you had slipped into bad form. Using proper form while exercising ensures you are working out the target muscle groups and avoiding injury.
Stretching before your workout can engage the targeted muscle group allowing those muscles to warm up in preparation for your workout. Stretching after your workout allows your muscles time to recover and rest after being put under the stress of working out. Whether you decide to stretch before or after your workout, stretching couples with your workout in order to ensure your muscles not only experience the stress of working out but also the recovery of stretching.
If you are experiencing recurring pain, working out and exercising are not going to be an enjoyable experience. Take time to assess your body and your patterns to make sure you are not unintentionally overcompensating, slipping into bad form, or forgetting to stretch as part of your exercise routine. If you are unsure about whether you are overcompensating, engaging in bad form, or performing stretches correctly, you can always consult a physical therapist to assess and evaluate you while you engage in exercise.