When it comes to sports injuries, it’s amazing how many myths, half truths and fabrications exist. Although many of these myths are simple misunderstandings, when it comes to your health and safety it’s important that you don’t pick up bad habits and end up causing yourself damage as a result of not knowing the facts. So we’ve scoured our inboxes and the net for some of our favourite and top asked questions to bring you the facts!
No pain, no gain?
Many of us believe that a good exercise sesh should result in throbbing joints, aching muscles and drowning in a pool of one’s own sweat however this really isn’t the case! Sweating can be inevitable in physical activity but there lies no link between a ‘good’ workout and the amount you sweat. Sweat is there as a means to cool the body down and nothing more – monitoring your heart rate is a much more realistic way to measure your level of intensity. In regards to the aching joints and pretty much feeling like your limbs are going to drop off, this again don’t necessarily mean you’re having a better exercise session and in fact that horrible achy feeling probably means you’ve overdone it a little and requires an extra day or two for your muscles to recover. Instead consistency is the key – doing a lower intensity workout on a more regular basis is not only better for your but allows you to exercise more frequently with less recovery time – try working at a realistic heart rate (70-80% of your normal heart rate)
Most sports we deal in whether it be football, rugby, hockey or just general running requires players to sprint up and down a pitch or track like crazy people. It has been believed that the speed at which a person runs will have an impact on the probability of injury however research has proven that this certainly isn’t the case and there’s no proven link between speed and injury, so go on, run as fast as you want to your heart’s content – just make sure you tie your shoe laces!
Building fat into muscle?
If you have ever uttered these words, we urge you to quickly find something solid nearby and repeatedly bang your head against it until the information has been erased from your memory…no really, this is a great one we’ve probably all heard in our time! In no way shape or form can fat convert into muscle, it just doesn’t work like that! Exercising and participating in sport can BURN fat and BUILD muscle but the two are completely different tissues. The same can be said for those who think that when you stop exercising your muscles will turn to fat – yes you may put on a few and your muscles mass may decrease but no magical, biological, scientific breakthrough transformations will occur. Just keep exercising to keep off the pounds. Simples.
Stretching before exercise?
It has been an ongoing debate and something we have touched on before in our blog post Stretching Before Running, as to whether stretching before exercise can minimize your risk of injury. Of course stretching holds many key benefits such as improving flexibility and joint mobility, however there is no clear connection between prior stretching and injury risk. Instead a good warm up and cool down routine before and after exercise such as light cardio is beneficial to warm up your muscles and gently ease your body into a good exercise session or sporting activity.
Protein for muscles?
If you’re a fan of the weights, you could be one of those who believe that in order to build your muscles to something Popeye would be proud of; you need to pump your body full of protein. Well, there is some truth to this – Protein is vital for repairing and creating new muscle fibres therefore increasing muscle mass and strength. However, there is often an important ingredient that is often overlooked….CARBOHYDRATES! Without the correct balance of carbs you will not see a great improvement in strength or muscle mass no-matter how much protein you consume. This is because the body needs energy released from carbohydrates to convert the protein into muscle tissue.
Heat for swelling?
So you’ve had a little accident on the pitch and you’ve managed to get yourself all injured, so what do you do? You reach for the heat pack. Well unless you’re some form of masochist then I would advise to leave the heat well alone at this stage as it will only increase the swelling and cause you further pain. Heat packs, sprays and pads can be brilliant for ongoing muscular or joint aches and pains but even after swelling of your joint has gone down but immediately after an injury, they are a definite no no! Instead go for the trusty ice pack which will aid to reduce swelling, relieve pain and can prevent further damage.
Sports after surgery?
Surgery is obviously never a nice experience, especially when you’ve had to undergo surgery due to a sports related injury. It can leave you a little anxious and your confidence knocked when it comes to returning to your favourite sport. Now obviously every injury and surgery is different and you should always consult your doctor if you have any doubt of causing any further damage, but in general as long as you have given your injury plenty of time to heal and you work closely with a physio for rehabilitation and you don’t over do it, you should be able to return to your sport. There are plenty of products and equipment available depending on your injury should you require extra support such as knee braces, back supports, strapping and taping.
Do you have a sports related question or myth that needs busting? No matter how silly or outrageous you think they are, send them in! There’s probably loads of others who are wondering the exact same thing! Post it on our FORUM.