Innocent Choga Fitness
Weight training is one of the safest fitness activities. We join gyms to get fit not to get injuries. So when I meet old gym friends telling me they have stopped training because they sustained injuries, I always wonder how. This is not supposed to be; strength training is supposed to rehabilitate and protect us from injuries.
Either you only have been doing things the wrong way or you joined the gym when the damage had already been done.
The truth is that there is also a thin line between acquiring fitness and acquiring injuries through exercise. If you do not know how it is supposed to be done or if you deliberately decide to flout the rules you will get injuries.
It is wrong to paint a negative picture about this activity because there is quite a number of people who have trained properly such that even after several decades they have progressed well into old age. They are still exercising and enjoying the benefits.
The sentiments on exercising made by the American President some time ago; the fact that some of his friends were nursing injuries and others going through hip and knee joints surgeries due to exercise where comic to some people but at the same time they angered other people.
There is an element of truth in what he said though. The fact that many people who exercise are getting injured and some are also going for hip and knee surgeries.
According to a fitness journal Idea ( July – Aug 2010 ), an 18-year-old research indicated that strength training injuries increased by 50 percent, 82 percent among men, 47 percent among the young aged 13 to 24. People aged 45 and older had the highest increase in injuries. It also states over exertion being a major factor for sustained injuries in those aged 55 and above. 970 000 injuries are alleged to have been dealt with by US hospital emergency.
These findings were reportedly published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine 2010; 38 765-71. The article advocated for the inclusion of quality fitness professionals and consultations with health professionals ‘to create a safe training programme based on age and capabilities’.
I think what could have angered some people might be the fact that the President said that at a time when his country, like many other countries is facing the obesity scourge and there is need for the society to exercise and eat well. It is said the majority of the population now exercises and those reluctant to exercise choose not to, but they are well informed on the issue of physical education.
According to another Idea fitness journal (Nov-Dec 2014) osteoarthritis, a degenerative disease of the synovial joints that results in progressive bone density and cartilage loss, causing so much pain, is the most common joint disorder in the US occurring in 10 percent men and 13 percent women aged 60 and above.
Although risk factors include trauma and muscle weakness, the rising incidence of obesity and the increase in the number of people living longer worldwide are linked to increase in osteoarthritis. Some experts attribute this longevity to the relative increase in the birth rate ,and others attribute this to medical advancement .
This, however, has exposed this problem of old age; the degeneration of the skeletal structure that may fail to cope up into old age. But doctors have been applauded for being up to the task.
Through surgery, they can now provide human body parts replacements like the total hip joint kit and knee caps that can last up to ten years. So the individual has a choice; either to go for the costly surgeries where there are possibilities of having side effects or go for cheaper and natural, but good lifestyle demanding exercise and diet regimens with fewer chances of side effects.
All the same the increase in obesity is seen as a major reason for the increase in injuries and surgeries because excessive weight causes misalignment between the upper body and lower body.
Unbalanced situations where the upper body is made stronger than the lower body, is also cause for misalignment and disproportion between these two sections. The lower body having to carry the excess weight, too much weight than it was naturally meant to will endure excessive wear and tear of the joints. If the condition persists for a long time, excessive degeneration of the bones and joints will have taken place by the time such persons reach old age.
Sometimes overweight individuals join the exercise bandwagon when the damage on the hip joints and knee caps has already been done and when it manifest later on in life the culprit is deemed to be exercise instead of the early damage done by the villain obesity.
On the other hand, adopting bad training practices cause injuries .I wonder if it is good training for overweight individuals to take up actual stair climbing instead of using the soft ground or stair climbing machines in the gyms? Personally, I think if one is overweight and does not exercise at any other time, it is good practice to climb one or two stories up to their offices, but making it a daily exercise with a number of set sets is not ideal because the impact of the heavy body and the ground will kill the knees and the pelvic joints.
The amount of force you apply to the ground is the same amount of impact it will give back, so you will be pounding the joints. Over the past thirty seven years that I have been exercising I have seen people of different ages and fitness levels pushing each other beyond limits disregarding differences in physiology. The issue of exercise injuries is a serious one it should not be ignored.
Email:[email protected] Innocent Choga is a six time National Bodybuilding Champion with international experience. He is studying for a science degree in Physical Education and Sport