Word to the Wise
No matter what your favorite activity…
…there’s always a risk of hurting yourself while you’re doing it. Help protect yourself with these simple
1. Do joint loosening motions before your activity. These are big motions designed to take your
joints through their full ranges of motion. Big arm circles, wrist circles, high-stepping, knee/ankle
circles…etc. This is not the same as stretching. There is no force applied at the end of the range of
2. Begin your activity slowly…this is your warm up. Warming up brings the blood from the core of
your body, where it tends to be when you’re at rest, out to the peripheral muscles, where it is needed
for more vigorous activity. By doing this, you increase the oxygen delivery and temperature of the
muscles and reduce the risk for injury as warmed up muscles are more flexible muscles.
3. Be aware of your surroundings. Look out for terrain changes, traffic, and other people.
4. Stretch AFTER exercise. Yes, many of us were told to stretch before exercise. This has been
proven by research to be less helpful and sometimes detrimental to flexibility and injury prevention.
5. Check in with your body. Learn the difference between the healthy discomfort of pushing yourself
into new areas of challenge and the feeling of pain or injury. Discomfort in the belly of a muscle is a
normal experience. Discomfort in the joints should be avoided.
6. Manage injuries early. Generally speaking, new injuries should be addressed by stopping your
activity, resting the injured body part, and applying ice (elevating it above the level of your heart and
wrapping it in a compressive bandage is also frequently helpful). The acronym RICE (Rest, Ice,
Compression, Elevation) is used to describe this conservative self-care approach. However if there
is obvious swelling, bruising, an unusual sound, severe pain, inability to use the body part, or if
conservative management does not begin to resolve the discomfort, or if it seems to be getting worse
or not to be getting better over time, seek medical attention.
Being Active and Avoiding Injury
WALKING AND RUNNING INJURIES, STRENGTH
Avoiding Running and Walking Injuries: Avoiding Strength Training Injuries:
• General injuries, walking and running injuries, strength training injuries
The 10% rule In strength training most injuries are the result of
Add no more than 10% to your total weekly mileage poor form (posture and movement). If you have
in any given week. Add it into your long walk or run never done so, you should get professional training
rather than spreading it out. before beginning a new strength training routine.
Shoe Condition The following checklist is useful to keep in mind:
Replace running and walking shoes every 300-500 1. Chest up and out
miles. Choose your new shoes early and phase 2. Shoulders down and back
them in slowly. Don’t use your running or walking 3. Head, neck and low back in “neutral”
shoes for other activities. 4. Abdominal muscles contracted
Shoe Type 5. Knees slightly flexed
Having gait analysis done (an evaluation of how 6. Toes pointed forward or slightly out
your foot hits the ground and what kind of support 7. When bending knees, don’t let knees go out
you need from your shoe), will help you make good in front of toes (move buttocks backward).
choices. Some stores and many physical therapists 8. When bending knees, make sure knees
can do this for you. move in line with hips and feet (neither
Cross-Training caving in nor bowing out).
Doing different types of activities helps prevent 9. Move slowly and pause at the end of motion.
overuse injuries. 10. Do not let machine or weight push you past
Surface and Route a range of motion that is comfortable and
Similarly, running and walking on different surfaces controllable.
and over different routes will help reduce the risk of 11. If a joint clicks or pops, change your angle of
overuse injury. movement, the amount of weight used or get
Adequate Rest professional training. Painless clicks can
Alternate harder, longer efforts with easier, shorter become painful ones if ignored.
ones. Build in at least one total rest day per week. 12. Add resistance slowly. As an exercise
Proper Nutrition and Hydration becomes easier, it is safer to add a few
High performance cars need high performance fuel more repetitions before adding more
and enough of it. See the separate handout on resistance and reducing repetitions again.
nutrition for some ideas on where to start.