Repetitive Motion Workouts—Tips for Avoiding Costly Athletic Injury
by guest blogger Brenda Watson
Repetitive motion sports are a popular choice among serious athletes and fitness fanatics alike. Exercises like swimming and running are wonderful methods for improving endurance, building muscle, and working out aerobically. However, these two exercise techniques also involve a lot of repetitive joint motion that, when performed incorrectly or not properly conditioned for, can cause several different serious and costly injuries. Many serious athletes who compete as swimmers or runners as well as those who run or swim more casually as their everyday workout experience tendinitis, bursitis, and several other painful and disruptive injuries. While swimming and running are common culprits for repetitive motion injuries, even training elements for less repetitive motion sports like soccer, football, and basketball can cause these repetitive motion injuries. Many of the training elements from these sports involve repetitively practicing one element of the sport over and over again (such as practicing free throws or punting the soccer ball as a goal keeper).
Repetitive motion injuries can be extremely painful and can lead to more serious injuries like tears in the future if not managed properly. Keep in mind these preventative practices to avoid injuries from repetitive motion or overuse of one specific joint during your physical exercise routine.
Always Warm-Up and Cool-Down
Warming up and lubricating your joints is endlessly important before starting any rigorous exercise. Whether you’re swimming laps, going for a long run, or playing a game of basketball, it’s important that you warm up slowly and carefully to prepare your joints, tendons, and muscles for the strain they will soon endure. Jumping immediately into a workout when your muscles and joints are still “cold” can have fairly dire effects. Take the time to warm up for at least 20 minutes before any repetitive motion workout. Likewise, it’s important that you cool-down your muscles and joints after a rigorous workout. This allows those joints, tendons, and muscles to stretch out and relax without just stopping dead after heavy exercise.
Try Range of Motion Exercises/Cross Training
Cross training is key for individuals who are highly competitive or serious about sports that focus only on one motion like swimming and running. As a runner, taking a workout to the pool from time to time can be a great break for your knees, ankles, and hips and will continue to provide a challenging workout. Similarly, swimmers can cross train on land to give their shoulders a much needed rest. Things like weight training, stretching exercises, and range of motion workouts can be vital to maintaining healthy joints, tendons, and heavily-used muscles. Careful and educated stretching is a one of the best ways to prevent future injuries.
Pay Close Attention to Technique
With repetitive motion sports like swimming, running, and others it’s paramount that you focus on technique, form, and whole body position over speed and power. If you perform a stroke or stride correctly, you’re much less likely to injure something or cause undue stress on a joint, tendon, or muscle. If you’re going to take part in regular repetitive exercise, take the time to educate yourself on proper technique and body position. For example, in swimming even the slightest mistake in your stroke can lead to very painful and damaging injuries in the neck, back, shoulder, and hips. Pay close attention to the way in which you perform the motions. By mastering the correct technique, you will become a faster and more efficient competitor.
Brenda Watson is a freelance writer and blogger for healthinsurancequotes.org. She has always been an avid writer and is passionate about healthcare and modern public health issues. Brenda uses her writing opportunities to direct consumers to the best health care options available to them. You can reach her in the comments below.