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Four common workout injuries and how to avoid them

They say there’s a fine line between love and hate, but the line between exercise and injury is even finer. After all, most workout injuries are caused by the exercisers themselves. It can be hard to tell when a workout is causing you harm, and once you know that it is, you might be too late to prevent it. If you’re starting out with a new exercise routine, watch out for these common injuries.

Workout injuries to watch out for

Fortunately, you can lower your chances of having to cross this line. Here are four workout injuries that many active people find themselves facing, and what you can do to prevent them.

Shin splints

Shin splints feel exactly how they sound: like one or both of your shins is splintering. To put it lightly, they hurt! Intense or repetitive physical activity, especially running, can cause shin splints. Flat feet, worn-out, or improper footwear can also contribute.

To avoid getting them, you should absolutely splurge for proper-fitting athletic shoes; go to a specialty running store with an expert on hand who can find what shoe works best for you. Also, don’t jump too quickly to a high-intensity workout; make sure that you build your exercise gradually, so that it’s not too much pressure on your body.

Lower back pain

According to a report in the International SportMed Journal, lower back pain is the most common injury that cyclists experience, and many people report feeling lower back pain when they exercise. Just because it’s common doesn’t mean that it’s unavoidable, though. To avoid lower back pain, you’ll want to make a point to do ab exercises a few times a week – like planks and sit-ups – and to stretch your back a few times over the course of the day. Also, if you’re a cyclist, make sure your bike is properly fitted so that you’re not putting too much pressure on your lower half.

Strained shoulder

There’s nothing like an injury to make you appreciate how much you need your arms. Rotator cuffs, located at the shoulder joint, are made up of muscles and tendons that keep the bones in place. People can tear the rotator cuff during exercise, especially exercise that involves reaching overhead. The best way to prevent hurting your shoulder, and tearing your rotator cuff in particular, is to warm up before you do any arm exercises, and to keep your shoulder muscles strong by doing push-ups or wall presses a few times a week. Always remember the proper technique when you’re exercising your arms, too.

Knee pain

Knee pain can be caused by a variety of things, including long-distance running and elliptical overuse. It feels like, well, pain around the knee, but if you’ve ever experienced it you know it’s not as mild as it sounds.

To prevent knee pain, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends that you make sure to you stretch after warming up for exercise, as well as afterwards to cool down, and set aside some days that you can develop a strength training program. On these days, use weight machines to strengthen the muscles around your knees. If you consistently have knee pain, consider varying the kinds of exercises you do.

Exercise is meant to enhance your life, not make things harder! By taking steps to prevent injuries, especially the more common ones, you can work to keep yourself healthy and pain-free.

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