You've performed this fitness move hundreds of times, but this time, something doesn't feel right. You feel a twinge at first, then a sharp pain and slowly you begin to realize that you may have an exercise induced injury.
If you're a newcomer to fitness, then you are particularly at risk for injury, according to experts at the Beth Israel Medical Center in New York. That's because your muscles are weak and not used to being stressed. Taking precautions like warming up will help to prevent injury.
Even if you're in excellent physical condition, injuries can occur due to overuse, improper form or fluke accidents.
The first line of treatment for a soft tissue injury is the RICE method (rest, ice, compression, elevation) outlined here.
RestStop your exercise activity immediately and give the injured tissue time to heal. Remember that rest may be the difference between a long and involved recuperation period or just a few days of inactivity. If you're anxious to resume your workouts, consider some alternate activities while your injury heals. For example, if knee pain prevents you from jogging, ask your doctor about swimming or cycling.
IceAt the first yelp of pain, apply ice to the injured area for 10 to 15 minutes. Try a bag of crushed ice or a pack of frozen vegetables, wrapped in a towel. The cold offers short-term pain relief and minimizes swelling by reducing blood flow to the injured area.
CompressionUse an ACE bandage to wrap the injured area. If it feels uncomfortably tight, then undo the bandage and re-wrap it.
ElevationThe general rule of thumb for elevation is to lift the injured area to a level that is higher than your heart. That means if your knee is injured, you should lie on your back with your leg propped up on a few pillows.
If your symptoms persist beyond 48 hours, visit your doctor for a complete examination. Once your body has healed, resist jumping into your exercise program right away. Your body needs time to adjust. Ease back into your workout regimen; take time to warm-up, stretch properly and listen to your body.
Judi Sheppard Missett, who turned her love of jazz dance into a worldwide dance exercise phenomenon, founded the Jazzercise dance fitness program in 1969. Today the program boasts more than 7,800 instructors teaching more than 32,000 classes weekly in all 50 states and 32 countries. The workout program, which offers a fusion of jazz dance, resistance training, Pilates, yoga and cardio box movements, has positively affected millions of people. Benefits include increased cardiovascular endurance, strength and flexibility, as well as an overall "feel good" factor. For more information go to jazzercise.com or call (800) FIT-IS-IT.