Hello My Friends
Welcome To The Vitality Project!
In a previous article I discussed the issue of testicular cancer and how the risk of developing this type of cancer directly relates to a sedentary lifestyle. I also recommended men of all ages to get more active in their pursuit of a healthier lifestyle. However, in this article stressing men’s health, I would additionally like to address some common mistakes men make when they decide to exercise.
Men have a habit of making the same types of mistakes in the gym or if they are trying to get more involved with running. These mistakes account for the majority of injuries I have seen as a health care provider, a strength and conditioning specialist and a health coach.
The common mistakes I typically see men make regarding running are the following:
• No warm-up
It’s very important to warm up before you run. In my view, the most effective warm-up is stretching and running drills. Take 10 minutes before your run to warm up and you will have fewer injuries to your legs, hips and lower back.
• Proper footwear
Most of the time, I have noticed that men sometimes do not have the right type of running shoe. If you have a tendency to pronate and you are running on a hard surface, you will need a shoe that can support the arch of your foot and correct the excessive pronation while being able to adequately absorb the tremendous ground-reactive loading forces which can accumulate.
• Too much volume too soon
If you have not built-up your level of fitness gradually and provided your body with an adequate period of time to adapt, this can lead to nagging injuries involving the feet, lower legs, hips and lower back. It will also impede your training results. Gradually increasing your training distance and the number of running sessions throughout the week combined with adequate time to recover between sessions will remedy this.
• Entering races before you are ready
I have witnessed men signing-up to complete 5-10 K. runs very early in their running careers. Although, competition can be a good thing, I would advise that your level of running capability will allow you to easily finish this distance safely and easily without a great deal of physical strain. On race day when the adrenalin starts to flow I have seen some men literally kill themselves to outdo someone else. These weekend warriors, as I refer to them have to look at their level of preparedness before entering any type of race. If this is early in your racing career, approach each race with attitude of finishing strong and build confidence throughout the racing season. Remember….not too many races. You don’t really need to enter every race during the season…there are too many and you may find that your performance improves with less racing.
In the gym:
• Poor technique
Improper training technique in the gym can get you injured quite easily. I have seen many men lifting weights without ever receiving any type of instruction. Not only can this be a risky situation but the degree of progress that you can expect to make will definitely be negatively influenced. My advice is to get someone who is a professional to teach you how to properly use the equipment. The reason why some people do not get the type results in the gym they would like is because they do not utilize the proper exercise form.
• Too much weight
Although I have seen everyone make this mistake, more men have a tendency to do this. If you focus upon weight and not technique, you risk injury and incomplete training adaptation. Progressive resistance applied to your exercises is great, but your body needs time to adapt to increasing loads. The key is to perform each repetition with correct form regardless of the weight chosen.
• Too much volume
In the same manner as men associate the amounts of weight lifted with success, so too do they think that doing more per session or adding more sessions are better than less. This is true to a point of course, but like running, weight training sessions and session volume have to be carefully planned around your training level, age and other activities. It’s very important to realize that weight-training adaptations occur at rest so recuperation is vital for the training response to work!
Train hard, but train smart!
Dr. Kevin. J. McLaughlin
Clinical Director: The Vitality Project