How to avoid injury when keeping fitness resolutions


by JIM BERGAMO / KVUE News and photojournalist ERIN COKER

Bio | Email | Follow: @JimB_KVUE

Posted on January 3, 2014 at 6:23 PM

Updated Friday, Jan 3 at 6:40 PM

AUSTIN -- Most people, at one time or another, have made a New Year's resolution to get in better shape. Many meet that goal. Many do not. Some just lose interest, but others fail because they get injured.

Doctors shared advice on how to stay healthy when resuming that exercise regimen.

On New Year's Day, hundreds took part in the Commitment 5K to get 2014 off to a healthy start.

Three days later, the hike and bike trails were full of people, including Joanna Molina of Austin, who said she is determined to get in shape this new year.

"I'm trying to shed the baby weight now and kind of get back," said Molina.

Molina and others have experienced some physical problems when resuming workouts.

"When I wanted to start back up, it did," said Molina. "My knees and my back and my legs."  

"I've had knee issues and some tendinitis in my knee when I have exercised too much at various times," said Courtney Childers, an Austin resident.

Sports orthopedist Joel Hurt said he sees those types of injuries frequently as people ramp up their exercise regimen after taking time off.

"You can't just start zero to 60 overnight," Hurt said.  

Hurt said your body needs time to get acclimatized to a fitness routine.

"If you haven't done anything in six months to a year, or sometimes longer, and you decide you're going to go back to running three times a week, you are asking for trouble," said Hurt.

Hurt said this is especially true for people hoping to lose weight quickly by running.

"Every pound you gain is six pounds of force on your knee," said Hurt.  "If you're 50 pounds overweight, that can be 300 pounds of extra force to your knee."  

Hurt said if you're following a program that's causing discomfort, throw it away.

"If your body is hurting, then I don't care what the paper says, your body is trumping that," said Hurt.  "You need to listen to it, slow down and modify those activities."

That's a lesson that people on the trails said they've already learned the hard way.

"I've learned that I have to listen to my body," said Childers. "I've overdone it at various times, and that hasn't always worked out so well."

Hurt said patients often ask how to know they're truly hurt or if the pain they're experiencing is normal for anyone who is exercising. He said pain that keeps getting worse or a bubble of fluid in your knee are signs that you should see a doctor.

Go here for more information about Texas Orthopedics.