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Top Injury Prevention Tips for High Intensity Interval Training

It’s a big fitness trend, promising quick, dramatic results with short bursts of exercise. Called High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT, the fitness approach encourages participants to push themselves to their limits to achieve measurable gains in strength and endurance. And while the premise is a good one for many athletes, the risk for injury is high. The good news is there are things athletes and weekend warriors, alike, can do to reduce injury risks and reap HIIT rewards.

“The key to safe exercise is moderation,” orthopaedic surgeon Letha Griffin, MD, said in an American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeon’s February 17, 2014 press release. “Individuals shouldn’t be deterred from pushing their bodies to the limit because that’s how you build strength and endurance. However, pushing too far, too fast, leaves the body prone to traumatic injuries, such as sprains and even fractures.”

Based on recent statistics, injuries are on the rise. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reported more than 939,700 Americans received medical treatment for exercise-related injuries in 2012. That was about 100,000 more than in 2011.

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons offers these injury prevention tips:

Extreme workouts aren’t for beginners. If you’re starting from square one, ease into exercising with moderate exercise. Work your way to more intense workouts, but at your pace. Don’t let ego get in the way.

Embrace a balanced fitness program. Look for a program that offers cardiovascular exercise, strength training, flexibility and balance training. It addresses everything you need to optimally function and keeps you from getting bored.

Follow a schedule. Schedules help new and experienced exercisers to exercise and get their needed rest. Schedules also help to keep exercises on the fitness track.

Always follow rules for safe exercising: Warm up with a few minutes of movement and slow, deep breathing to increase blood flow. Stretch slowly and carefully to the point of muscle tension. Use proper equipment, including appropriate shoes and clothing that allows you to move comfortably. Don’t rush. Stay in the moment and don’t get distracted. Breathe. Stay hydrated. And remember to cool down with slow motions and relaxation.

Physical therapists are the exercise experts. For more about how a physical therapist can help people of all ages and physical abilities to achieve optimal fitness, safely, contact A Physical Therapist, Inc.

A Physical Therapist, Inc., is a one-on-one physical therapy clinic in Delray Beach, Fla., and Harrisburg, Penn. For patients in Palm Beach County, A Physical Therapist, Inc., is easily accessible from Boca Raton or Boynton Beach. For patients in Dauphin County, A Physical Therapist, Inc., is easily accessible from Hershey and Marysville.

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