In the New Year, I, along with many others, partake in the tradition of resolutions; I try to push myself to improve my health, personal, family, and career goals. Our main goal at Foothills Sports Medicine is to get our patients healthy enough to return to the activities they love, but we often find excuses to avoid caring for ourselves. So let’s tackle some of these myths or excuses and make this the year we all focus on our goals.
MYTH 1: “Aches and pains are expected with exercise.”
This is absolutely not the case. Muscle soreness is often expected after workouts, but pain or discomfort in your back, knees, or ankles is never normal. Understanding the difference between muscle soreness and pain in the muscles and joints is essential. Muscle soreness can often feel dull or tight, or you may feel fatigued, whereas pain can be sharp and often linger with no relief. Aches and pains often arise when you are not adequately taking care of your body. Exercise should not be a negative experience for you; it should be a time you enjoy and are focused on yourself and reaching your goals.
MYTH 2: “The longer my workout, the more beneficial it is.”
Time is often one of the biggest excuses people use not to be active. Working out does not have to consume your entire day or even a whole hour. The American Heart Association suggests only 30 minutes a day for five days a week. Let’s put that into perspective: studies have recently shown that the average person spends about 90 minutes on their phone daily, leading up to about 23 days a year and about 3.9 years of an average person’s life. You can incorporate this activity into your daily routine by walking at lunch, parking farther away from your office, or even taking the stairs multiple times throughout the day. Be smart with your activity, work hard while you are training, and always put your best effort into your workouts, and you will not have to spend hours at the gym.
MYTH 3: “I’ll never be flexible—my muscles have been tight all my life.”
Muscles can be trained. It was inflexible stems from not correctly training your muscles. Whether you don’t exercise consistently or exercise incorrectly, both can cause muscle imbalances. Our body is a machine that needs every single part to work together correctly to function at its fullest potential. When we have imbalances in our bodies, we will find ways to compensate, creating restrictions. Incorporate a foam roll session into your daily routine to promote the tissues’ ability to return to a relaxed state.
MYTH 4: “If I’m not sore or in pain, I’m not working out hard enough.”
Do not make soreness your priority. Many factors contribute to being sore, including but not limited to the type of exercise, the number of reps, and the weights being used. Try to use other tangible measures to verify that you are working hard, i.e., your progress from session to session. Are you able to complete more this time? What is your fatigue level in comparison? Use your feelings after a workout. How is your stress level? Are you feeling happy?
If you have questions about what you may feel during your workouts or other activities, schedule a visit to one of our many locations for a complimentary Rapid Recovery Injury Assessment.