Performed properly exercise improves physical condition
and health. Done poorly is can cause injury and harm health.
Acute (Sudden) Injuries:
These are injuries that you know about right away because
they hurt or harm you right away. A good example is an ankle sprain. A list of
common acute injuries is given below:
soreness: In order to build-up muscle, to increase the amount of muscle we
have, we have to injure it slightly through exercise. This leads to muscle
soreness and especially to delayed muscle soreness (it hurts more the day AFTER
than the day OF the exercise).
soreness and delayed muscle soreness result from resistance training.
best way to minimize these problems is to start your resistance training
program with light weights and then build-up the weight slowly over many weeks
Hardly a medical emergency, blisters are painful and commonly result from skin
irritation caused by actions like gripping a bicycle handlebar on a long ride
or walking (or running) too far in new or poorly-fitted shoes or boots.
strain: Perhaps the most common exercise-caused injury, ligament strains occur
when a tendon becomes overstretched but does not tear. This sort of injury
commonly occurs in the ankles, sometimes in the wrists or arms but ultimately
can occur anywhere a tendon is overstretched.
Sprain: This is a step worse than strain. In a sprain, a ligament becomes
partially or completely torn.
Rupture: Worse still is the sudden rupture of tendon. This is where a tendon is
torn completely so that there is no longer any connection between a muscle and
Fracture: A bone will fracture if it is stressed too much. This rarely happens
in exercise except when people have accidents like skiing into a tree or
dropping a weight on a foot. However, people with osteoporosis (bone thinning
and loss) can sometimes fracture a bone performing ordinary tasks.
strain, sprain, tendon rupture and bone fracture all generally result from
exercise related accidents or from trying to perform feats far inexcess of
one's physical condition.
best way to avoid these injuries is to exercise carefully and quit when you are
tired. Most exercise accidents occur when people are exhausted.
Injury: Exercising outdoors in hot weather carries special risks. Sometimes we
can heat-up faster than the body can manage. This is called
"heat-stroke" and it can be deadly. Signs of heat stroke are
dizziness, confusion, trouble walking. This is an emergency that requires
immediate cooling by getting out of the sun, into shade or a cool building,
lying down and splashing cold water on the body.
injury can occur with any exercise if performed in hot weather and especially
when people are not "heat-acclimatized".
exercise should be performed early in the morning or near sunset. Warm-up
slowly and carefully monitor your own condition being especially observant of
mental-status changes like dizziness, confusion, cloudy or muddled thinking or
trouble walking. Stop exercising immediately and seek shade and help if you
begin to show these symptoms.
Like heat injury, dehydration tends to happen more often in hot weather, but
unlike heat injury, it can also happen in very cold weather. Dehydration is the
condition of having too little water in the body and occurs when we lose more
water than we replace. In hot weather, we lose water by sweating but we also
lose water through breathing and, of course, urinating. In any event, when we
lose more than a few pounds (less than half of a gallon) of water, we become
mentally and physically impaired. The way to prevent dehydration is to drink
ample fluids before, during and after exercise. Sometimes drinking water is
fine, other times, weight issues be damned, Gatorade or a similar sports drink
is a wiser choice.
is a potential risk from any exercise any season, hot or cold.
plenty of fluid before, during and after exercise. Warning signs of dehydration
include absent urination or urine that is highly concentrated and dark in
color, dizziness, headache, nausea and vomiting. The only treatment for
dehydration is rehydration with water or sports drinks like Gatorade.
(Low Sodium): If people drink too much water, they can dangerously lower their
blood-sodium level. This can happen when marathon runners load up on water and
keep drinking only water during a hot run. It can happen even absent exercise
if people drink huge amounts of water. You may recall that a few years ago a
woman died from drinking too much water in order to win a radio station-sponsored contest in
happens when people over-consume water without salt. This happens when people
exercise for a long time and only drink water.
performing any exercise for longer than about one hour you should consume
electrolyte-replacement drinks like gatorade or balanced salt solution and not
just pure water.
can make a pretty good and very cheap electrolyte replacement drink using one
teaspoon salt, and two tablespoons sugar mixed into a quart of water. This will
be faintly sweet and distinctly salty but it really works.
Asthma (Asthma Attack): Intense aerobic exercise causes rapid and deep
breathing in order to keep-up with oxygen demand. This can irritate the airways
of the lungs and, in some people, can trigger an "attack" of asthma.
Patients who have a history of exercise-induced asthma may need to use an
"inhaler" immediately before exercise
Accidents: In the long-term, exercise helps prevent the sort of heart disease
that causes "myocardial infarction" or heart attack, but, in the
short term, and in the case of people with existing heart disease, sudden
intense exercise can work a sick or damaged heart so hard that
injuries: Unless you exercise in a rubber room, there is always a chance of
becoming seriously injured from traffic, crime, insects and many other
Slow (Chronic) Injuries:
These are injuries that gradually get worse each time one
exercises. An example is inflammation of the Achilles tendon caused (sometimes)
by running. At first there is only vague pain. After a week or two the pain is
worse and unless the sufferer stops running, a few weeks later, the pain is
Exercise works the heart muscle. Over time, this causes
the heart muscle to become stronger and healthier, but in the beginning,
especially in the case of someone with existing heart disease, sudden intense
exercise can harm the heart by depriving the muscle of needed oxygen or by
causing an irregular heart beat (arrhythmia).
Anaerobic Exercise Intensity: Time to Pain
The best way to judge the intensity of weight training is
by how long it takes, by seconds or by "reps" to reach unbearable