By Steven Shirley DC, CCSP
Now that the holiday season is long gone, many people have gotten back on their exercise routines as the attempt to get the Christmas cheer off their beltline. Unfortunately for some of our patients at the Spinal and Sports Care Clinic we are seeing a rash of injuries from people using new exercise routines such as the TRX, Cross-Fit and even the Wii. In fact, one patient the other day could barely raise their arm after playing Wii tennis for 3 hours non-stop. When I asked her what she was thinking, she said,” I wasn’t going to let my damn 13 year old kid beat me!”
There is no doubt that varying your workout routine is good sense as it is more fun to do and cross trains different muscles groups. However, common sense and moderation are still the guiding rules, especially if you are returning to exercise from a hiatus. In the case of TRX, where you are suspended partially from the ground using straps, the exercise is simply too advanced for the average Joe or Jill. We have even seen disc injuries using these new-fangled approaches. A key tip is this: if it was developed by a Navy Seal, it is probably not appropriate for a 52 year old grandma with chronic low back pain!
So whether you are whipping on your teenager using the Wii (or at least trying!) or are back lifting weights, remember that slow and steady wins the race. Remember to integrate stretching into your workout routine and to never push through sharp or burning pain. If you feel a “twinge” of pain your body is telling you something is wrong. Either reduce your intensity or quite the specific activity you are doing. There is nothing wrong with taking a break every once in awhile or so to gather your wits and do a little stretching to avoid self-inflicted pain.