- By Marjie Gilliam Contributing Writer
One of the greatest benefits of exercise is that it enables you to be more in tune with your body. During a workout you learn how your body reacts to different types of activity.
Uncomfortable responses associated with exercise such as muscle soreness are normal, while other situations can be an indication of a more serious problem. Over-training and poor exercise form are two of the most common scenarios leading to difficulties that are bothersome enough to interfere with future exercise sessions.
When you exercise, extra fluids are lost through perspiration, which must be replaced in order to avoid becoming dehydrated. Symptoms of dehydration can include increased thirst, palpitations, weakness, dizziness, decreased urine output, dry mouth and an inability to sweat. Drink water throughout the day, before, during and after exercise sessions.
If you are exercising for long periods of time at a high intensity, consuming a sports drink to replenish lost electrolytes is generally recommended.
Muscle aches and pains
How do you know if the soreness you experience after a workout is appropriate? “Muscle burn” felt during exercise is normal and usually subsides once the activity is discontinued. It is the result of lactic acid, which builds up when there is not enough oxygen available to the working muscles.
Workouts intense enough to cause muscle burn can result in soreness which may not be felt for some 24 to 48 hours after the activity. This delayed onset muscle soreness is normal as long as it subsides within a day or two. However, when workouts are excessive in duration, frequency or intensity, or carried out with improper form, over-training occurs. Over-training is a major cause of exercise-related issues, creating excess wear and tear on tendons, ligaments, muscles and bones and ultimately leaves you weaker instead of stronger.
These can be caused by problems of the muscles, the bones, or the attachment of the muscle to the bone. Pain may be felt near the front of the leg along the shin bone (tibia) or on the inside portion of the leg near the ankle. It often develops gradually, but can occur after a single intense exercise session. It may decrease with continued movement, and then become worse again once exercise has stopped or upon waking. One common cause of shin splints is pronation of the feet.
If the foot flattens too much, it will roll inward, putting stress on the muscle over the front of the shin, which can eventually lead to pain. Recent changes in activity, such as walking uphill instead of flat surfaces, wearing shoes without proper shock absorption, running on hard surfaces, tight calf muscles, or suddenly increasing distance or speed can also cause shin splints to develop.
To help prevent shin splints, maintain a good balance of muscle strength and flexibility. If you already have shin splints, allow time for recovery and gently stretch, especially after working out.