Back to Top Skip to main content

Repetition, intensity can build a ‘recipe for injury’ during workouts

Avoiding any sudden increases in activity level, duration, load, and intensity can help prevent overuse injuries. Injuries can also happen as a result of technique errors, such as poor form during strength training exercises. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Robert Cloys) Avoiding any sudden increases in activity level, duration, load, and intensity can help prevent overuse injuries. Injuries can also happen as a result of technique errors, such as poor form during strength training exercises. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Robert Cloys)

Recommended Content:

Physical Activity | Preventive Health | Operation Live Well

FALLS CHURCH, Va. — You may be telling yourself, “no pain, no gain,” as you hit your usual speed on the treadmill for the fourth day in a row. But more of the same is not always better. Whether sudden or gradual, injuries can often be prevented through moderation, proper form, and adequate rest.

Diana Settles, physical readiness and injury prevention manager at Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center in Portsmouth, Virginia, said overuse injuries can be a significant health and readiness threat among service members.

“The goal is for [physical activity] to establish a solid foundation of fitness and strength, building up over time, to allow for pain-free and injury-free participation,” said Settles. Doing too much too quickly or exercising for too long, especially after little to no physical activity, can lead to injuries. “Overuse injuries can be subtle, occurring gradually over time, so early recognition and prevention is important.”

An estimated 25 million limited-duty days, during which service members are unable to perform their full duties, are given out every year across all services, said Settles. These restrictions can result from too much physical activity, which usually occurs while off duty, and can directly affect readiness, she added.

Service members, veterans, and family members, regardless of age, are at risk for overuse injuries. Seeing a doctor before beginning any intense or new workout routine is recommended, especially if prior injuries exist. A physician can provide advice on what to avoid or exercises to try based on individual needs.

Avoiding any sudden increases in activity level, duration, load, and intensity can help prevent overuse injuries, said Settles. Injuries can also happen as a result of technique errors, such as poor form during strength training exercises.

Tim Kelly, head athletic trainer at the United States Military Academy in New York, said people should be realistic in their goals and not add too much intensity before building a base in strength and endurance. Some high-intensity training programs can be harmful if they’re not done correctly, he added.

“Some people kind of step into it and go from zero to 100 miles an hour in one to two days, and that’s really a recipe for injury,” said Kelly. “If you’re not used to doing some of those exercises or have a really good baseline for doing them, I think you’ll probably end up injured.”

Gradually starting a workout routine can help people get into shape without putting too much stress on muscles and joints. Workouts should involve a mix of movements and intensities in order to build power, strength, and endurance. Recovery time is essential for injury prevention when working out consistently. Without rest and recovery, the body eventually becomes overloaded and fatigued.

“If you don’t have good quality sleep, you’re probably not getting the recovery you need based on the workout you had that day,” said Kelly. “Those two are linked fairly close in my opinion.”

Paying attention to what the body is communicating is one of the best ways to avoid injuries, said Kelly. If a person experiences prolonged soreness or pain, especially joint pain, after workouts, that’s a good warning sign of overdoing workouts, added Kelly. Recovery, which can be done through rest, or less intensity and repetitions, is recommended.

“No one is immune to overuse injuries,” said Settles. “We want our warfighters and their families to be healthy and active, but it’s also important to be mindful and safe while doing just that.”

You also may be interested in...

Sunrise Yoga Class

Photo
9/29/2016
Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Tara Paradiso participates in a sunrise yoga class on the flight deck aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt. If you’re thinking of adding exercise to your pain management plan, consider the following types: aerobic, strength, and flexibility. But make sure your exercise program is specifically tailored to your needs. Some exercises might be easier or more difficult to complete depending upon the type and location of your pain. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Chris Liaghat)

Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Tara Paradiso participates in a sunrise yoga class on the flight deck aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt. If you’re thinking of adding exercise to your pain management plan, consider the following types: aerobic, strength, and flexibility. But make sure your exercise program is specifically tailored to your needs. Some exercises might be easier or more difficult to complete depending upon the type and location of your pain. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Chris Liaghat)

Recommended Content:

Physical Activity | Consortium for Health and Military Performance

Flag Football Game

Photo
9/28/2016
Youth participate in a flag football game on Marine Corps Air Station in Yuma, Arizona. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Travis Gershaneck)

Youth participate in a flag football game on Marine Corps Air Station in Yuma, Arizona. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Travis Gershaneck)

Recommended Content:

Preventive Health | Children's Health | Physical Activity

Healthy aging starts sooner than you think

Photo
9/23/2016
Air Force Staff Sgt. Nick Crouse, a medical technician with the 193rd Special Operations Wing's Medical Group out of Middletown, Pennsylvania, takes the blood pressure of a patient. Heart disease, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are three ailments that take a huge toll on the body as it ages. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Air Force Staff Sgt. Nick Crouse, a medical technician with the 193rd Special Operations Wing's Medical Group out of Middletown, Pennsylvania, takes the blood pressure of a patient. Heart disease, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are three ailments that take a huge toll on the body as it ages. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Recommended Content:

Preventive Health

Vitamin D B12 Deficiency

Photo
9/19/2016
Adequate intake of B vitamins is important to ensure optimum energy production and the building of muscle tissue.

Adequate intake of B vitamins is important to ensure optimum energy production and the building of muscle tissue.

Recommended Content:

Nutrition | Physical Activity

Breathing techniques

Photo
2/26/2016
Airmen and Soldiers practice breathing and relaxation during their off duty time in a deployed location. Stress can take its toll on your mental and physical health, including your heart health, but there are breathing techniques to buffer yourself from it. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Lance Cheung)

Airmen and Soldiers practice breathing and relaxation during their off duty time in a deployed location. Stress can take its toll on your mental and physical health, including your heart health, but there are breathing techniques to buffer yourself from it. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Lance Cheung)

Recommended Content:

Preventive Health | Mental Wellness
<< < 1 > >> 
Showing results 1 - 5 Page 1 of 1

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing; Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.