Have you ever heard some people say that exercise is actually not as good for us as we all seem to think… or that it may even be bad for us?? Yes, there are indeed rumours flying around about this topic. But how do we know if that is true or not?
Dr. Christopher Wahl, MD, chief of sports medicine at the University of California, San Diego department of orthopedic surgery, weighed in on the subject, saying that “exercise is one of the best things you can do for your body and mind. It helps manage your weight, reduce disease risk, and boost your spirits. But it’s definitely possible to go about exercise in the wrong way where it can hurt you.
So what should we be watching for?
For one thing, form is absolutely critical. If you do not maintain the correct form and alignment with your body, then you risk serious injury. This is one area where it really is best to work out with a personal trainer like Sean McCombe from Heroic Health & Well-Being, as he is then able to watch for those slip ups and correct it before you hurt yourself.
Another one of the most common mistakes people make is not warming up before they work out. Failing to stretch and warm up the muscles prior to vigorous exercise is one of the leading causes of injury in the gym. It is also important to be properly prepared, so think of things such as wearing running shoes that provide adequate support and cushioning against hard surfaces.
The overuse of particular muscle groups is the cause of many exercise-related injuries. Overuse injuries are especially common among young athletes who only typically play one sport regularly. This is where cross-training can help. Cross-training refers to an athlete training in sports other than the one that the athlete mainly competes in, with the goal of improving their overall performance. This technique takes advantage of the particular effectiveness of each training method, while at the same time attempting to negate the shortcomings of that method by combining it with other methods that address its weaknesses.
Taking breaks between training sessions to allow your body and muscles to heal is important as well. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests kids take at least one or two days off a week from sports and at least two or three months off from a particular sport during the year.
People with chronic conditions can benefit from physical activity, but it’s important to first consult a doctor. A recent study fund that too much exercise can reverse the health benefits in heart attack survivors. Researchers found that the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease dropped as much as 70 percent in people who ran up to 30 miles or walked 46 miles per week. But the risk of death was about 2.6 times greater in people who exercised more than that.
I asked Sean, our head trainer, about if he had any advice for people who want to get in shape but are new to the fitness scene. “Having goals is such a key factor,” he said. “For anyone who is just getting started on their journey toward improved fitness and health, my suggestion would be to carefully identify some goals for yourself. These goals should make sense to you… everybody has different bodies, different strengths and different weaknesses. So make sure that the goals you choose will work with where you are at on your personal fitness journey.”
So what is the answer to the question of if exercise is ever bad for you? We don’t think so, not if it is done properly and as long as you have received clearance from your doctor first. Don’t push yourself so hard that you hurt yourself. Do only what is slightly not so comfortable. Stay within your limits and it should be fine.