Injury prevention: strategies for a LYT life

Injury prevention: strategies for a LYT life

by Lara Heimann, PT and Founder of LYT

Injuries are a common concern in various aspects of life, whether in sports, everyday activities, or the workplace. However, many of these injuries are preventable with the right knowledge and practices. We at LYT believe that with biomechanical intelligence and a sharper connection between brain and body, we can employ injury prevention strategies and tips to minimize the risk of injury in our practice and in daily life. Most of us know that maintaining overall physical fitness, including strength, flexibility, balance, and endurance, is essential for injury prevention. But understanding your body and biomechanics is the potent ingredient for movement longevity; we want to move often, move well, and move for many decades to come. In our online LYT Daily classes and yoga teacher training, we emphasize the importance of optimal body mechanics with postural awareness to reduce the risk of strains, sprains, and other injuries so we can feel more at home in our bodies and experience joy and energy in our lives! Understanding the WHY, not just the HOW behind movement is key for injury prevention.

Here are some practical tips for injury prevention:

1) Incorporate warm-up exercises before engaging in physical activity to prepare the body for exertion and prime the brain-body connection.

This first step gets the body online quicker and more effectively and facilitates muscle recovery, reducing the risk of strains and muscle imbalances. Our LYT RESET is an excellent way to prime the body and brain for movement and it can be performed prior to other athletics off the mat just as it is done in the blueprint of our LYT practice.

2) Learn and practice proper techniques for specific activities, whether it’s lifting heavy objects, running, or playing sports, to help prevent overuse injuries and improve performance efficiency.

In LYT, we emphasize postural awareness and alignment because posture is how we hold ourselves and our energy, setting the scaffolding upon which movement takes place; sound biomechanics maintain joint integrity, and balanced muscle activation and lead to more movement efficiency. Excessive energy expenditure can be a root cause of muscle fatigue and/or lack of proper form. When we live with more postural awareness, we are more likely to brain map optimal movement and loading patterns that sustain us in our daily activities.

Gradually increase the intensity, duration, or complexity of physical activities, allowing the body to adapt and reduce the risk of overuse injuries, such as stress fractures or tendonitis.

It’s important to start slow and with small doses when beginning a new exercise or way of training.

4) Prioritize varied movement that includes strength training, flexibility exercises, and mobility work.

Movement variability is key for maintaining and improving joint range of motion and sufficient tissue pliability (fascial fitness) which promotes a more balanced body in motion.  In our LYT classes, we intentionally move in a variety of directions and throughout small and larger ranges of motion with dynamic core stability to ensure our body is more durable. This variability leads to heightened movement intelligence and fluidity, making us more adaptable on and off the mat.

5) Include neuromuscular training exercises into your workout routine to improve proprioception, balance, and coordination.

Exercises that include core stability, single-leg squats, balance drills, and agility drills can help enhance neuromuscular control and reduce the risk of injuries. The adaptable nervous system plays a significant role in preventing injuries through proprioceptive feedback, which is the nervous system’s ability to sense the position and movement of muscles and joints in space. Proprioceptors help maintain balance, coordination, and proper movement mechanics, reducing the risk of falls and traumatic injuries. The nervous system also regulates muscle activation and coordination, ensuring proper muscle firing sequences and joint stabilization during movements, which can prevent overuse injuries and improve biomechanics. Rapid reflex responses initiated by the nervous system can protect against injury by quickly stabilizing joints or adjusting body positioning in response to unexpected stimuli or sudden changes in movement. Fun fact: The core muscles are rich in proprioceptors! The core muscles, which include muscles such as the transversus abdominis, multifidus, pelvic floor muscles, deep muscles of the spine, and scapulae, are responsible for providing stability and support to the spine and pelvis. These muscles are engaged in maintaining proper posture, stabilizing the spine during movement, and transferring forces between the upper and lower body. There are more proprioceptors in the core postural muscles compared to other muscles in the body for stability requirements, fine motor control, protection of vital organs, and overall functional performance. The core muscles are engaged to provide stability to the spine and pelvis, especially during dynamic movements and weight-bearing activities. The higher demand for stability necessitates a greater concentration of proprioceptors to provide accurate feedback to the brain about changes in position and movement. The core muscles require precise coordination and control to maintain proper alignment and stability so the presence of a larger number of proprioceptors allows for more refined motor control, enabling the core muscles to respond quickly and efficiently to changes in posture and movement. Because the core region houses vital organs such as the spine, spinal cord, and internal organs, the presence of a dense network of proprioceptors in the core muscles helps to protect these structures by providing early warning signals in response to potentially harmful movements or positions. The core muscles are involved in virtually every movement performed by the body, from simple tasks like bending and lifting to complex athletic movements. The abundance of proprioceptors in these muscles ensures that the body maintains proper alignment and stability during a wide range of activities, reducing the risk of injury and improving overall performance. And that is why we believe that MORE CORE is the answer!

Injury prevention is a multifaceted endeavor that requires a combination of education, awareness, proactive measures, and responsible behavior. By implementing the principles and practical tips that we educate and implement in our LYT Daily online platform, individuals can significantly reduce their risk of injuries and enjoy a safer and healthier lifestyle. From a physical therapist’s perspective, think of your daily movement practice as prehab, preparing and conditioning you to avoid injuries and rehab. Prevention is always better than cure and investing in injury prevention measures can yield long-term benefits for overall well-being and quality of life. You deserve it! Check out our Start Here series on the online platform if you are newer to movement or LYT, or simply want a movement tune-up with education. Finally, remember to listen to your body and seek guidance from qualified professionals when needed for long-term injury prevention.

– References for further reading
1. “Effects of warm-up exercises on physical performance: A systematic review with meta-analysis” by Fradkin et al. (2010). This study found that incorporating warm-up exercises before physical activity can enhance performance and reduce the risk of injury.

2. “The association between technique factors and injury incidence in recreational runners” by Nielsen et al. (2014). This study highlights the importance of proper running techniques in preventing injuries among recreational runners.

3.  “The role of training volume and intensity in injury causation” by Hreljac (2004). This study suggests that the gradual progression of training volume and intensity can help reduce the risk of overuse injuries in athletes.

4.  “The effects of cross-training on fitness and injury in women” by Hilyer et al. (2012). This study demonstrates that cross-training can improve fitness levels and reduce the risk of injuries in women participating in various sports activities.

5.” Strength training for injury prevention in adults: A systematic review” by Lauersen et al. (2018). This systematic review concludes that strength training programs can effectively reduce the risk of sports-related injuries in adults.

6. “The Effects of Core Stability Training on Balance and Proprioception in Female Volleyball Players”**
  – Authors: Saad M. Alsaif, Osama Abdelraouf, Tarek M. Abdelkafy, and Shae McGuire
  – Published in Journal of Physical Therapy Science, 2015
 This study investigates the impact of core stability training on balance and proprioception in female volleyball players. The findings suggest that core stability training significantly improves both balance and proprioception, which are essential for injury prevention and performance enhancement in athletes.

7. “Core Stability Training for Injury Prevention”**
  – Authors: Willson JD, Dougherty CP, Ireland ML, and Davis IM
  – Published in Sports Health: A Multidisciplinary Approach, 2005
  This review article examines the role of core stability training in injury prevention among athletes. It discusses how core stability exercises can enhance proprioception and neuromuscular control, leading to reduced injury risk in various sports and activities.

8. “The Relationship between Core Stability and Performance in Division I Football Players”**
  – Authors: Okada T, Huxel KC, and Nesser TW
  – Published in Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 2011
  This study explores the relationship between core stability and athletic performance in Division I football players. It highlights the importance of core stability training in improving proprioception, reducing injury incidence, and enhancing functional performance on the field.

9.  “Effects of Core Stability Training on Knee Pain and Proprioception in Female Athletes with Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome”**
  – Authors: Lee JH, Cynn HS, Yoon TL, and Choi SA
  – Published in Journal of Physical Therapy Science, 2016
  This research investigates the effects of core stability training on knee pain and proprioception in female athletes with patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS). The study demonstrates that core stability exercises contribute to improved proprioception and reduced knee pain, thereby aiding in injury prevention and rehabilitation.

10. “Effects of Core Stability Training on Lower Limb Kinematics and Vertical Jump Performance in Healthy Individuals”**
  – Authors: Behm DG, Drinkwater EJ, Willardson JM, and Cowley PM
  – Published in The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, 2010
  This study assesses the effects of core stability training on lower limb kinematics and vertical jump performance in healthy individuals. It highlights how core stability exercises can enhance proprioceptive feedback, optimize movement patterns, and mitigate the risk of lower limb injuries during athletic activities.

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