Relying on ibuprofen, naproxen, acetaminophen or other over-the-counter drugs during and after exercise to counter muscle soreness. It’s one thing to take medications for a known sprain of a joint or strain of a muscle. Those are good reasons to use these medications because the level of tissue damage is drastically greater. In that case, if you normally do well with over-the-counter medications then, by all means, take them. But stay hydrated and don’t exercise heavily while taking them.
Our bodies adapt to exercise by rebuilding the minor tissue damage that occurs during the exercise, but with a little better structure. By using anti-inflammatories, recent studies indicate you are actually hampering some of your body’s normal recovery processes. Let nature run its course.
Focus instead on good nutritional habits, like eating during and immediately after exercise. Patience and tolerance as your body recovers after exercise are key.
And please don’t take anti-inflammatories while you are exercising because:
- They can be highly damaging to your kidneys as you become dehydrated.
- They can impact your blood pressure negatively.
- There are also problems in the way the drugs act with higher body temperatures and can change otherwise normal processes in your body during exercise.
- Their intake can lead to intestinal bleeding, cramping, diarrhea and maybe even a trip to the emergency department if the dose is high enough and you’re dehydrated.
Not performing plyometric training. It’s probably not a good start if you are currently saying “What is plyometric training?” Plyometrics can be a great way to increase overall speed and power. They are also great for improving your confidence with foot placement and directional changes because more advanced exercises require agility as well. And if you have a hit a plateau in your training, they can help you break through it. That can be true for sprint athletes and endurance athletes. Keep your body guessing.
Not having goals, short-term and long-term. Is your long-term goal to be a 5K runner until you are 80? To stay in shape to chop two cords of firewood next month without back pain? To squat 300 pounds for a one repetition maximum in three weeks? To avoid a family history of cardiovascular disease with indicators like blood pressure below 130/75 until you are 50? Write your goals down. Determine a time-frame. Maybe six weeks short-term? Maybe six months long-term? It’s going to depend on the type of goal. And 40 years long-long-long-term? Remember the SMART concept for making goals - specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time-bound. Simply saying “I want to be stronger and faster” is not specific, measurable or time-bound. Achievable and realistic, maybe. But how will you decide achievement of being stronger and faster without a measurement?