Ask the expert: training avoiding injuries

It seems obvious to say, but often athletes - especially those who practice sport in an irregular way or newbies - forget that training is a fundamental part of sporting activity. Excessive workload or incorrectly performed exercise can have negative repercussions on the body, causing fatigue or even damage to it. Accident prevention and management are extremely important issues for anyone who practices sport and using all the tools available to devote themselves to their discipline of reference in safety.

An "ecological" approach to sport to avoid injuries

In order to make the most of the benefits of sporting activity, it is advisable to take a sports ecology perspective and consider accident prevention as a fundamental part of training work. It is by increasing self-awareness as an athlete, at whatever level you practice a discipline, that you will achieve better results, a reduced rate of injuries and greater overall well-being. In this perspective, the use of technological machinery is essential to develop a positive relationship with sport, which begins even before wearing training shoes, and to minimise the risk of injury.
The supervision and advice of personal trainers can also be of great help. The aim is to learn how to evaluate the objectives that it is reasonable to set oneself, to decide the type of training to be carried out and the degree of intensity of the sessions, to choose the techniques and equipment best suited to each, to learn how to manage the expectations and the stress associated with the competitions. This does not mean demonising DIY training, which is especially widespread in a discipline that is mistakenly considered intuitive like running, but reaffirming the importance of getting truly prepared for the start line. From then on it becomes equally crucial to learn how to interpret the signals that our body sends us, to recognise the symptoms of overtraining and to implement all the strategies necessary to prevent the development of diseases that risk compromising the performance of sporting activity.

Gian Marco Currà, an expert physiotherapist at Technogym, answers your questions on these hot topics and provides useful advice to improve the approach to daily training.

I over exerted myself during my last training and now I have back pain. Should I go to the gym or rest?
The first suggestion is to include a qualified personal trainer in your training, so you always have gradually progressive sessions and never take it too far. In addition, being observed by trained eyes during the session limits these kinds of problems. Having said that, the best treatment for muscle pain is rest or, for those who just can't stay away from the gym, a very low-intensity booster workout. If the back pain does not pass within 5-7 days, it is a good idea to be checked by a physiotherapist who can intercept problems that cannot be solved by simply resting and intervene with massage therapy, manual or instrumental therapies, if they deem it necessary, as well as showing the athlete the right path to resumption of sporting activity.
Does it make sense to stretch before or after training? Does it prevent injuries?
The most correct answer to this question is: it depends. It depends on why the question is not so much when to stretch, but what kind of stretching to do before and after training. There are essentially two types of stretching, static and dynamic. With static you stretch your muscles in a stretching position for longer or shorter periods, while with dynamic you stretch your muscles with movements at speeds that can be high, medium or low.

A warm-up session is essential to prepare muscles and ligaments for training effort. Dynamic, light and gradual stretching can be part of this preparation phase, especially if the training requires a prolonged and moderate effort.

Instead, to conclude the training with stretching of the muscle chains, spraying and oxygenation of the muscle, and drainage of waste substances, the ideal is a good session of static stretching. Helping this stretching phase with a good respiratory activity helps us to recover the effort and reduce the unpleasant feeling of soreness typical of intense sports activity.
What does overtraining mean?
Overtraining is a physical, behavioural and emotional condition that occurs when the volume, intensity and frequency of an individual's physical exercise exceed his or her ability to recover. Overtraining syndrome usually occurs as a result of a training program that is suddenly increased, prolonged for long periods of time and performed at high volume, high intensity, without allowing a sufficient recovery period. The overtraining subject suffers a halt in the growth of performance and may experience a loss of strength and well-being.

What are the characteristic symptoms of overtraining?

  • accelerated heartbeat at rest
  • excessive fatigue during training
  • insomnia, irritability and depression
  • weight loss
  • hormonal imbalances, amenorrhea
  • lowering of immune defences
  • loss of appetite
  • chronic muscle soreness
If these symptoms occur, it is advisable to stop activities for at least 1-2 weeks and pay particular attention to the diet. If the symptoms persist, a doctor should be consulted.

How to prevent overtraining?

  • have adequate rest
  • have a positive mental approach
  • not to train for an excessive amount of time
  • periodically check their blood values
  • follow a balanced diet
  • adapt your training to your lifestyle
  • to allow oneself periodic cycles of regeneration.

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