Do you have pain with exercise? If you do, should you stop completely? For most cases the answer is no- finding a new mode of exercise or altering your current exercise is better than complete rest. Here are a few things you can change:
-Weight: Decrease the weight you're using! If performing 10 repetitions of bicep curls using a 25 lb weight creates pain rated at 6/10, try decreasing your weight to 15 lbs and increasing your repetitions to 12-15 to decrease your pain to 2 or 3/10.
-Range of motion: Change the range of motion at the joint you are working. For example, if a full squat is bothersome on your lower back or knees, modify to a shallow squat using the wall for extra support.
-Frequency: Decrease the amount of days you work that joint or muscle group! If working on your gluts 3x/week is creating lasting pain or soreness, decrease to 1-2x/week in order to give your body time to recover between sessions.
-Speed: You can increase or decrease the speed of your movement to bring your pain levels down to a manageable level. For example, slow your runs down to a nice, comfortable jog or slow down your plyometric squat jumps down to a static squat.
-Contraction type: Sometimes, isometric contractions are less irritable than concentric and eccentric contractions. Consider altering your contractions to something less painful but that provide the same challenge and benefit.
-Duration: Break up your exercise routine into smaller time frames. For example, if your daily 45 minute walk starts to flare up your hip. break it in half and walk in the morning and evening.
-Technique: Seek a PT to observe your technique! More often than not, form or technique can be altered to make sure you're protecting your soft tissue and joints to prevent pain and further injury,
-Type of exercise: If running and using the elliptical are causing pain, consider activities such as swimming or biking which cause less stress on the body!
-Rest time: If you have time, its OKAY to rest between your sets or between exercises! It's even okay to split your exercises into two and perform half earlier on in the day and then finish the remaining exercises towards the end of your day!
Maggie Nguyen PT, DPT