Lively consulted a physical therapist and fitness guru to get you the scoop on how to make your workouts less risky and more suited for your body.
Scroll on for the info before your next workout.
Your body can only take so much wear and tear until injury arises, which puts a halt on any form of exercise. That said, it’s important to educate yourself on how to move properly and protect yourself from this overuse. “My philosophy is that exercise should build your body up, not slowly break it down,” Shannon Ritchey PT, DPT and Owner of Levo Wellness shares with Lively. “I always tell my classes ‘exercise in ways that your 90-year-old-self would appreciate.'”
It’s important to note that it’s not just about whether the exercise is “high impact” or “low impact.” According to Ritchey, it comes down to understanding the biomechanics of the movement and the most appropriate ways to put force through the joints involved in the movement. In reality, a low impact exercise completed with poor biomechanics could actually be riskier than a high impact exercise completed with proper biomechanics and in the right “dose” for that individual’s body.
Below are some tips to note to stick within these parameters.
Ritchey recommends avoiding movements such as speed skaters, burpees, mountain climbers, jump lunges, and one-legged jumping, as these tend to be riskier when it comes to wear and tear over time. But note that everyone tolerates these types of movements differently as it depends on a person’s overall body structures: “Some have the muscle mass and control to be able to absorb the forces through their muscles, while others will transfer the stress straight into bones and cartilage, creating micro-traumas and could eventually lead to a serious injury,” Ritchey says.
Consult with a specialist, like Ritchey, to tailor a workout to your body and minimize wear and tear risk based on your own unique structure.
Ritchey recommends exercises such as wall sits, push-ups, bridges, and lumbar-supported crunches. If you’re interested in a breakdown of safer low-impact exercises by muscle group, check out Levo Wellness for a free PDF to get you started with some compliant moves.
When it comes to high-intensity interval training (HIIT), Ritchey recommends trying to stick to two short sessions per week and implementing full-exertion exercises with slam balls, ropes, gliders, and chairs. This way, you can incorporate lower impact movements that lessen stress through your joints so you can keep rockin’ these workouts!