Lana Pacheco, Fitness Director & Certified Personal Trainer

March Madness is the ideal time to try other exercises, classes, & exercise modalities to mix up your routine. Are you doing the same exercises in the same way, day after day, month after month? Stop that! Repetitive stress injuries are caused by doing the same type of activity over and over again without varying the activity (such as only running or swimming or cycling). Repeating of the same strength exercises (like the chest press, lat pull down, or leg press) can cause a repetitive stress injury, even if you vary the weight, because you are performing the same motion over time.

What are the symptoms? Early on, symptoms of repetitive stress injuries include pain, particularly during the activity that directly impacts the body part in question, but the pain might disappear while resting. The pain might even be quite minimal at first. However, the pain may become more noticeable earlier and earlier during regular, repetitive tasks that affect the area, like a regular exercise routine or a long-distance run. As time passes and you continue with the activity, the pain may increase considerably, and then may continue even during rest periods. This is usually when we start to listen to our bodies and know that we have done too much. This is also when it’s too late, and we will require time off to recover.

A common overuse injury is tendonitis, a condition in which the tendon becomes inflamed from repetitive use. In the shoulder, the rotator cuff (a complex of muscles that stabilizes and moves the shoulder) can become inflamed. Tennis elbow is another form of tendonitis that occurs along the outside of the elbow, most commonly in tennis players. In golfer’s elbow, the tendons on the inside of the elbow are affected. Feeling elbow pain when doing a biceps curl but not after the curl is an example of a possible “tennis elbow” injury.

To avoid a repetitive stress injury, vary your exercise routine every 12 weeks. Do not do the same exact exercises daily, weekly or monthly. If you run, then bike. If you swim, then run. If you are only using strength machines, mix in free weights. Mix in some yoga classes with your muscle classes. This is cross training and will help prevent an overuse injury.

The ultimate cross training program, March Madness is in full gear this month. Take advantage of all the new classes and workouts. It’s not too late to get on a team or just grab a white card and play along as an alternate. And contact the front desk to get signed up for an updated exercise routine if you haven’t already.

Lana Pacheco, Parkpoint Santa Rosa Fitness Director
[email protected]