Is Your Working Out, Working You Into An Injury?


Article Written by Butch Phelps

Working out to stay fit is becoming more and more popular. Unfortunately for it to reduce healthcare costs more people will have to participate in exercising their bodies. The benefit to working out regularly is it improves the density in your bones which reduces osteoporosis and osteopenia, Strength training improves muscle strength and stamina. Cardiovascular training, like running, biking, and walking improve the health of your heart and lungs. So there is direct proof that exercise is needed to maintain a healthier body.

So what is missing? Have you ever noticed that the longer you work out that it seems you are getting stiffer and stiffer. Maybe your joints are aching or that you wake up in the morning to a stiff back or painful feet? Working out can cause this stiffness and pain unless you learn how to stretch your body and get regular massages.
You maybe thinking,”I stretch in the gym and it doesn’t seem to help” or ” I get massages at the spa regularly and they feel good but it doesn’t really help either.” Maybe you have purchased special shoes, bands for your arms or legs, orthotics for your shoes, or worse yet, you have been given injections to reduce the inflammation. After all that, you go back to the gym and create the same scenario again. Are you frustrated? Think it is your age? Let me help you.
When I ask professionals like trainers, therapists, and even physicians why we need to stretch the human body, the quick answer is, flexibility. I have a client that can put her palms flat on the floor, yet she suffered for months with back pain. So that is not it! I then ask physiologically why should we stretch and no one had an answer.
When you look at your joints you have muscles that cross your joints on all 4 sides. When you work out, whether strength training or cardiovascular, your muscles tighten and the muscle tissue becomes short. The shortening of the muscle tissue results in your joints losing their spacing. The importance of the spacing is it allows the body to inject synovial fluid, a lubricant, into the joint so the joint will hurt freely without pain. Ever had bursitis? the bursa sack inflamed because the joint lost its spacing and it was telling you you need to stretch. So your bursa sacks are similar to the oil light on your car dash. If the oil light came on you wouldn’t just pull it out would you? Probably not, you would check the oil level in your car. So learning to stretch correctly is highly important for your work out. I said CORRECTLY didn’t I?
When stretching, most people are taught to hold the stretch too long and you miss most of the muscles. Never hold a stretch for more than 2-3 seconds because every muscle in your body, all 603 of them, have a stretch reflex that once you hold beyond 2-3 seconds, the muscle contracts. The muscle will shorten and inflame with lactic acid. You muscles do not know the difference between you just stretching and me trying to break off your leg. Most stretching is incomplete too. Let’s take the hamstrings. Did you know you have 3 hamstring muscles? If that is true, and it is, then why do we teach a hamstring that only stretches one muscle. By rotating your foot inward and then outward, you can now stretch all three. Each stretch should be repeated 8-10 times. You can find videos of more stretches like this at