“Oh, no!” I shouted when I hurt my right shoulder during my weight-lifting training. In less than a few minutes, my neck and shoulder muscles went into spasms.
The pain reminded me of the saying “physician, heal thyself”, and I recalled what I have always told my patients as to what NOT to do if you want to avoid sports injuries.
1) No warm-up before exercise, not to mention the cool-down.
Warming up before exercise is an age-old wisdom. However, many impatient Hongkongers tend to skip this important step. A simple 15-minute warm-up should include stretching exercise of muscles in the neck, shoulders, the upper back, the chest, the abdomen and limbs, plus five-minute jogging and five-minute practice of workout moves. The body would then be ready for the exercise when it is heated up with a mild perspiration.
The cool-down exercise is more or less the same as that of the warm-up, but it focuses more on stretching. Good and sufficient cool-down could help reduce muscle soreness and prevent injuries due to overstretching of muscles.
2) Weekend-warriors: physical activities limited only over the weekend
After a long working day, not many people would want strenuous physical activity, making exercise or workouts impossible. However, thanks to some constant invitations to formal dinners or boat trips, it is embarrassing to meet old good friends with a poor body shape. That’s how people turn themselves as weekend-warriors, trying to achieve one week’s physical activity in two days.
It is not surprising that this group of physical inactive people would get themselves injured as their muscles and joints are unprepared to undergo any vigorous exercise.
3) Over-training of “mirror muscles”
Mirror muscles, as the name suggests, refer to those that can be easily seen in the mirror, including the chest, abs, shoulders, biceps and triceps and upper traps.
The consequence of over-training mirror muscles could be dire. As some men have workouts focusing only mirror muscles, they have inadequate training in their upper and lower back, resulting in serious muscle imbalances that could cause them some shoulder pain, lower back pain or a hunchback.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on April 18
Translation by John Chui
[Chinese version 中文版]
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