There is a certain amount of discomfort that everyone experiences when they begin an exercise program. Going from sedentary to moving gets the body doing things it is unfamiliar with. Your body may experience muscle soreness and pain for the first several days. As the body gets used to the physical activity, the pain will gradually subside.
There is also the discomfort that you experience during exercise. This comes when you are pushing yourself to go beyond your present level of fitness. Think about performing twenty or thirty push ups in a row. Your arms will become fatigued but over time they will increase their endurance.
Each of the pains felt above will subside with time. As you recognize the signals that your body gives when you are exercising, you will learn which ones mean “push harder” and which ones mean “back off.” Now we are going to discuss the latter.
Some signs that you are experiencing more than a muscle-building pain include: sharp pains that don’t reduce in intensity; pain when you put pressure on a joint; inability to move a body part after prolonged exercise. More than likely such signs mean that you have injured yourself.
There are three types of common injuries that athletes and regular exercisers face: strains, sprains and shin splints.
Strains involve the tendons (fibrous tissue that attaches muscles to bones). A common point of strain is the hamstring and the inner thigh muscles. They can be caused by failure to warm up, performing a move that you were not prepared for and lack of rest between training sessions. A strain manifests itself through stiffness, tenderness and possibly swelling at the site.
Sprains involve the ligaments (fibrous tissue that attaches bone to bone). Any movement that extends beyond the range of normal motion can lead to a sprain. Ankles are often sprained easily through reaching and twisting. At the site there will be swelling, tenderness and possibly bruising.
Shin splints are often a runner’s injury. Beginning runners who push off too hard on their first run can experience this separation of shin muscle and bone. It feels like an unrelenting pain with each step.
How to Deal with Sports Injuries
The best thing to do for an injury is to rest. Yes, we said rest. This is hard for many athletes, but the alternative is to be out of commission for several months instead of several days.
Elevate the painful area. Reduce swelling and pain with compression bandages and ice packs. Treat the area for about 30 minutes at a time. When it truly feels better you can try again. If the pain persists, see a doctor.