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Given the current state of our society, with most living a sedentary lifestyle, people wish to get fit by going to the gym and I am here telling you that people go to the gym to get injured!! Chances are that you are have looked up one of the following:  injury prevention, how to prevent injury in sports like football and soccer, injury prevention specialist near me, injury prevention for runners, injury prevention and recovery in sport, injury prevention exercises, injury prevention exercises for knees, or how to avoid workout injury. If that’s the case, then this blog is for you! 

What is Injury Prevention?

It should be of no surprise that if we go with the way our body is designed to move and resume functional movement, we will decrease our chances of injury tremendously. Functional movement is the proper way of moving and if you are wondering what that is, I can tell you that your brain already knows it since you were born to move according to the way your body is designed. In fact, every single baby on this planet goes through the developmental stages of movement the same way (with the exception of a few genetic disorders of course). 

Any deviations from how we are designed to function and move are what puts us at risk for injury. If you truly want to prevent injury, the following need to be addressed:

  • Decentrated joint
  • Muscular imbalance 
  • Pathological movement pattern
  • Bad posture

How do we do that? Brain-Based Neurology and Posture paired with Developmental Kinesiology are the ideal and most effective way to address all four points. Understanding how we all develop proper movement patterns as babies from rolling over to walking, and what it takes to re-establish those lost movement patterns in an adult is the key! Functional movement is explained in this video:

No one thinks of injury prevention until they’ve been injured and wish for it to never happen again. Why wait when it’s your health at stake? 

How Important is Injury Prevention?

Instead of viewing our health as an expense, it should be seen as an investment because what you pay now will save you later. Some say they can’t afford preventative care which only means that they will be paying a lot more with sickness and by then not every ‘damage’ is reversible. 

For professional athletes, it’s no question that preventative care is necessary because they’ve had injuries in their lifetime and they know how long it takes for an injury to not only heal but to be rehabbed back to proper function- their future depends on it. If an injury takes a lot of time to heal, causes limitations and pain, contributes to chronic pain, impacts your activities of daily living, and your relationship with your loved ones and at work, why not do what you can to prevent it? It is not a matter of how long we live but how we live that should be the focus.

Who are Injury Prevention Strategies For?

Contrary to popular belief, injury prevention is not just for athletes. It’s for everyone! My office is not filled with professional athletes in pain instead it’s the desk jockeys that find themselves needing treatment. People who workout and load their joints are at increased risk for injury, for obvious reasons, especially if they are working out using the wrong form! Too much weight, and not enough strength in the right muscles, so you start using the wrong muscles to lift the weight. 

When we sit too long, we overuse some muscles and underuse others. Then going to the gym simply means that the exhausted muscles now are expected to perform more. No wonder gyms are not a place to get fit but to get injured!

Whether you sit behind a desk, cycle on the weekends, run daily, play professional sports, play sports for exercise, enjoy the occasional soccer game, or even play with and pick up little children, injury prevention in the form of functional movement is necessary to maintain health. 

How to Avoid Workout Injury

The first step toward proper movement and injury prevention is breathing. We hear about so many types of breathing and I am here telling you that correct breathing is that which is done by all newborns to the age when we start allowing a sedentary lifestyle to take over our lives. I can’t tell you what age that is because unfortunately younger and younger children are getting accustomed to watching TV and playing video games!

The first thing a newborn does is take a breath! That is not only because they need to live but also that breath is like turing your computer on. It allows every thing that is you to start functioning. That means breath is the foundation to all that we do and nature has shown us the way!

If you pay attention to newborns and toddlers, you notice that their abdomen is rather large. It is not because they are fat but because they are utilizing the space between the abdominal and pelvic diaphragm effectively. The so called belly breathing is supposed to be an off shoot of the proper way of breathing done by all of us when we were first born.

Look at the abdomen as a barrel that safeguards you from injury, gives you support to take some of the load off the stabilizing muscles that exist from the neck to the pelvis in all 4 sides of your body (front, back and 2 sides). The contrast to that is the ‘hour glass’ and ‘six pack’ that ironically we go to the gym for.

If you are wondering how to breath like you once did as a newborn, watch this video and do not give up!! I suggest trying it twice a day after getting up and before going to bed and do 2-4 proper breathes each time. Here is how to start:

Did you know that 5% of your posture is a decision you make and the rest is what the brain has to figure out given what it has to deal with? When our sedentary lifestyle dictates a slouch, forward shoulders and neck, weak abdominals and lower back, weak glutes, tight hamstrings and weak quads, that means essentially all major joints in your body are existing BUT NOT in the right place in the joint!!

When a joint is not centerated, you are an accident waiting to happen. When you go to the gym to supposedly strengthen that weak area, you are not effectively working out the weak!! You mechanically do that ‘overhead press’ but not using the right muscles to do the job. How is that possible? It is very simple. If you want to do 3 sets of 12, the brain will do everything it can to make you win. The cost is developing patterns of movement that only leads you to injury.

The video below shows how bad form encourages the overuse of the WRONG muscles and how to correctly work out a specific muscle. 

Posture and Injury Prevention Exercises

The only right exercises are the exercises that infants go through from the age of 6 weeks to 16 months when they walk. The video below explains why!

It is easy to get wrapped up with the fads in exercise and treatments for injuries or become a lifetime consumer of the drugs and procedures out there. I suggest you keep the following quote from Buddha in mind: “ believe nothing no matter who said it, no matter if I said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and common sense’.

Dr. Shakib