It’s the first week of the new year and many of us have goals to take off that extra weight we gained over the holidays. This might be increasing your aerobic activity, adding more consistency to your Pilates and yoga practice and lifting weights to tone up your muscles. Whatever your exercise routine is just make sure you don’t overdo it. You’ll likely end up with tendonitis somewhere which will put a damper on your workouts. Just remember to do these few things as you exercise to prevent tendonitis from developing.
Remember, tendinitis can start several ways. Vigorously exercising, exercising too often, or overworking one muscle group — especially without warming up — can put strain on the tendons, which attach your muscles to bones, causing an overuse injury or tendonitis.
Always Warm Up
Before you start your workout it’s important to warm your muscles up and stretch a bit, especially important for those living in winter climates. Just go top to bottom and move each joint and gently stretch. Move your head in a circle, roll your shoulders forward a few times then backwards a few more, then twist your spine looking over the left shoulder then the right. Grasp your hands behind your back to open up your chest and shoulders, then reach out in front, grasping and pushing your palms away while rounding your back. Moving down to your legs circle each leg moving from the hip clockwise and counterclockwise, then flex and extend your knees a few times and draw circles with your feet to warm up your ankles. Finally, gently stretch your heel cords by standing in a lunge one leg at a time.
Warming up by moving your limbs and spine in various ways plus gentle stretching prior to working out will help you decrease the risk of irritating your tendons, plus once you’re exercising it feels better.
As a rule of thumb, especially when lifting weights, work all the muscle groups consistently during your fitness routine, then take the next day off from lifting to give everything a rest. It’s not a good idea to lift on back-to-back days unless one day you’re working on the upper body and the next the lower body. You just don’t want to work on the same muscle groups two days in a row because it puts you at greater risk of injury. It’s a good idea to schedule your workouts so strengthening and weights are 3 to 4 times a week, and on alternate days do yoga, Pilates, brisk walking or aerobic conditioning.
Protect Your Wrists
Tendonitis can develop in your wrist from bearing weight on your hands. For example, in a yoga class that does lots of sun salutations, you’re going to be moving onto your hands frequently. The stretch of the wrist when you’re doing planks, chaturangas, and more can be too much on the tendons. This can cause irritation and pain as the tendons stretch to move your wrist into extension, causing micro tears and the development of tendonitis on the palmer side of your wrists. The same thing can occur when doing push-ups, Pilates, lifting weights, doing TRX or core stability classes.
Wrist Assured Gloves (WAGs) have wedged gel pads to decrease the angle of wrist extension, so you avoid putting the strain on the tendon, preventing tendonitis or relieving it if you already have it. I make sure to always wear my WAGs when I work out to keep my right wrist happy and protect my wrists! As you’re exercising to shed those holiday pounds, remember these tips to stay healthy, active, and injury free.