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Physical activity, exercise and overuse injuries

Published: March 16, 2023

Physical activity all year round
Physical activity all year round

Physical activity is recognised as a key component of a healthy lifestyle.

Numerous health benefits can potentially be obtained by engaging in adequate physical activity.
Recommendations suggest 150 minutes per week of moderate to intense physical activity can provide health benefits, but many people do much more than this for various reasons.
Just as too little exercise (hypokinetic) is associated with increased risk of health problems so is too much exercise (hyperkinetic).
Engaging in more physical activity than the suggested health recommendations can provide you with greater health benefits.
However, the downside to physical activity and exercise is that the more you do the more you increase your risk of injury.
During any physical activity stress is applied to your body.
If your body responds well to the applied stress it will adapt and become more efficient at that particular activity, for instance: cardiovascular, muscle strength, muscle endurance or flexibility.
If your body does not respond well to the applied stress then it will begin to break down give in to an assortment of injuries and possible disablement. 
The most common injuries associated with physical activity are overuse injuries which usually have no specific origin, and often become chronic.
Overuse injuries can also be associate with work related activities.
Symptoms such as discomfort, swelling, and limited motion around a particular joint or muscle arise, can last for weeks, may not be resolved, and may worsen.   
Acute injuries usually result from a specific incident often accompanied by identified pain in a specific body location at the time of the injury.
An acute injury may also be accompanied by lasting pain, swelling, limited motion and limitation or inability to perform the normal function associated with that body part.
Overuse injuries can occur throughout your body, but most commonly occur in your knee, foot, ankle, low back, and shoulder area.
If not attended to overuse injuries may increase your risk for acute injuries.
Muscle and connective tissue injuries, such as strains and sprains, are most frequent.
A strain is the overstretching or tearing of a muscle, tendon or musculotendinous junction (where the muscle and tendon join)...link to the full article to learn more.


American Council on Exercise (1993) Aerobics Instructor Manual: San Diego, CA: American Council on Exercise
CSEP (2013) Physical Activity Training for Health Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology http://www.csep.ca/english/view.asp?x=898
American Council on Exercise (1996). Personal Trainer Manual. San Diego, CA: American Council on Exercise