Training, Injury and Getting Older
My days used to be spent taking clients 8-10 hours a day. I would be teaching classes, working one-on-one with people and doing small group training. One of my favorite things to do was to build in about 30 minutes for myself. During that 30 minutes, I would do a 1 minute warm up that included a couple big arm circles and maybe 5 squats. Then, I would turn up the music, hit the timer and go for it. It worked out well in my 20’s and 30’s, but, once I hit my 40’s, it wasn’t such a good idea. I would start to accumulate these nagging injuries that would keep me from training a few times a month. They were more annoying than anything else. Not only was I battling injuries that were not worth mentioning, like a tweaked hamstring or a sore knee, but I had learned to just grind through the slight discomfort. I took my own advice and started doing foam roller work and mobility work every day for 10 to 15 minutes. It helped but it didn’t solve my problems all together. Not until I decided to make 2 big changes in my workout routine did I start to not only see improved performance, which meant improved body composition, but I also was able to train hard again and stay injury free. Here is what I changed:
1. I began to incorporate a warm up that was meaningful. I challenged myself to really focus and engage during the warm up. I picked movements that looked like the movements that I was going to be doing in the workout. I made sure to think about what I knew was important for each movement. Example, if I'm going to squat today, I might do a lunge to warm up. Both movements involve movement at the hip, knee and ankle. I know in both I need a really strong, tight midline, meaning my core should be engaged. I make it a point to keep my core engaged in the lunge so I was primed and ready for my squat. My warm up turned into what felt like the beginning of a workout. Now I was sweating and truly getting warmed up before the workout.
2. Once I started to pay attention, and I mean close attention, to how I was moving in my warm up, I realized if I didn’t take the time to dig in and correct my movements in my warmup, I’d pay for it in the workout. Usually it would lead to injury and decreased performance. For example, I began to notice that in my air squat in my warm up, my left foot would start to turn out a bit when it should be pointing straight forward. Then in my workout when I did loaded squats the same thing would happen, but worse. Then the next day, my left hip would be killing me. Until I addressed the issue, which was lack of mobility in my hip on the left side, I wasn’t able to squat without being injured. I began to dig deeper into moving well and less into moving faster. I started to notice change. I felt better and I was slowly getting stronger, staying injury free and able to do things that I could never do before, like a pistol squat on the left side!
We are all getting older and one of the best ways to continue to look good and feel good is to continue to train and to train hard at high levels of intensity. The cost of injury is so much greater now than when we were in our 20’s and 30’s. I can’t stress how important it is to warm up and break a sweat. Most importantly, we have to stop, slow down and move with perfection in order to get more fit and train injury free. It’s time to shift the paradigm. Move well first, then you can sweat!
What are your most common injuries that nag you?