Mike’s Mid Week Blog- Injuries and tips on how to help avoid them

Carrying or suffering from an injury is something that we can all relate to. Whether we take part in sport, general exercise or neither at some point in our lives we have suffered from an injury. On occasions injury avoidance is out of our control (eg being involved in an accident), however today’s blog will outline some tips that can help minimise injury risk.


From my personal stand point it wasn’t until 2012 that I actually began to take stretching more seriously. Prior to that I suffered endless injuries from sport and weight training including knee cartilage tears on both knees, Shoulder Separation, endless hamstring tears, ankle sprains, groin pulls and the list goes on. I am not putting these injuries down to lack of flexibility however I feel now that if I took flexibility more seriously then my historical injury list may be a lot smaller. Since 2012 I have suffered no major injuries or pulls and the only slight shoulder problem I encountered was down to not stretching certain muscles regularly enough. Some evidence to back up my feelings are from www.pponline.co.uk. To quote “researchers at the New Jersey Medical School recently tested the flexibility of connective tissues and muscles in the legs and hips of 200 college athletes before their competitive seasons began. Then, the researchers monitored the athletes for injury for several months (Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, vol 77, pp 1139-1143, 1996).

As it turned out, in male athletes the risk of injury decreased as flexibility increased. In fact, for each additional point on the ligament-flexibility scale (the researchers graded flexibility on a 10-point scale), the chances of injury declined by about 15 per cent. In addition, for each one-point increase in muscle tightness, the risk of injury climbed by over 20 per cent.

In female athletes, the situation was quite different. There was no relationship between flexibility and injury risk. However, the females were more flexible than the men and had considerably fewer injuries. The most flexible women had an injury rate which was 60 per cent lower than that of the men.

What does this study mean to you? If you’re a female athlete, you’re probably fairly flexible already, and there’s no evidence to support the idea that increased flexibility will keep you out of the injury clinic. If you’re a male, on the other hand, there seems to be strong evidence that being more flexible will help you avoid injuries.”

Maintaining good posture

Bad posture can cause an endless list of strains and injuries even without exercising, Furthermore when it comes to exercise, having bad posture can lead to performing exercises incorrectly increasing chances of injury. Having bad posture can cause your muscles to not align properly as well as placing extra strain on joints, ligaments and affecting your gait. Poor posture can be corrected through a series of muscle strengthening and stretching as well as being more aware if you start to slouch or hunch forward etc.


Referring back to a previous blog on sleep, it is fair to say that adequate sleep does play a part in injury prevention. Benefits of getting adequate amounts of sleep include better physical and mental performance as well as improved physical recovery. Sleep deprivation can lead to increased stress levels, decrease in mental and physical performance and muscle breakdown.

Warmup and cool downs

Slightly different to general flexibility as these are recommended before and after exercise accordingly. Warmups increase the blood flow to the body, in particular those muscles you intend to be using. This will lead to increased flexibility and also mental awareness. Cool downs are important for flushing the lactic acid out of our body, which will help prevent stiffness and soreness over the days to follow, in additional to lengthening the muscles after being shortened during exercise.

Sufficient Hydration and Nutrition

After exercise our muscle and glycogen stores are depleted. Replacing our fuel, lost through exercise, can aid our physical recovery and prevent muscle breakdown, which can lead to injury. Post exercise our body’s absorption rate of nutrients are increased, which is why many people recommend eating after exercise as soon as possible. There are rare occasions where you may choose not to eat after exercise but that’s more related to fasted cardio which is another discussion for a later date.

Over Training

A few years back this was a big factor for me. Over training is when we apply to much effort and stress on the body over a regular period of time. The body then is unable to recover due to the lack of rest, causing a decrease in physical and mental performance and muscle breakdown. Over training can also lead to increased fatigue and stress both physically and emotionally.

Train with good form

As mentioned earlier bad posture or flexibility can lead to poor form when exercising. There are, however, still occasions where individuals are still performing exercises incorrectly even though their body is capable of doing so. Unaware to the individual this will undoubtedly lead to an injury of some sort. On the flip side these injury risks can quickly be reduced through form correction. If you’re ever unsure about your form with any movement do consult a health professional who can properly advise.

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