Active Seniors

12 Week Challenge: Week 11 – Managing Injuries and Self Care

As you become more active, it is important to understand the best ways to support your body and to minimise any aches and pains, furthermore to reduce the likelihood of injury. 


  • The easiest and most appropriate management strategy is to allow yourself sufficient recovery time, thus supporting your musculoskeletal system. 
  • Especially important when doing strength exercises, as our body adapts to micro-tears in the muscles. This sends a signal to the brain saying that greater strength is needed 
  • Allow at least 1 day of recovery in between sessions 
  • It is common to experience DOMS – delayed onset of muscle soreness – after a strengthening exercise session. This discomfort should have disappeared before you engage in another strength session. 
  • Aerobic exercise can be tolerated more frequently, as it is much less stress on the musculoskeletal system. 
  • Use a Rating of Perceived Exertion scale (RPE Scale) to monitor the intensity of exercise. Avoid increasing the intensity or difficulty of a session unless your rating is 7 or below. 


Get a roll on 

  • Aside from good nutrition and adequate rest, there are some other strategies to help maintain a healthy musculoskeletal system 
  • Keeping connective tissues healthy by encouraging movement of fluid in and out of the layers of tissue and promoting regular blood flow  
  • Stretching can also generate electrical energy, hence why many people report feeling energised or refreshed after stretching 
  • Key points to maximise the benefit of incorporating any of the above ideas: 
  • For optimum connective tissue health, move often! 
  • For significant changes in connective tissue via stretching, try holding the position for 1.5-2 minutes (a long time, we know!) 
  • Move slowly in and out of positions to allow for a deeper stretch 
  • If you are using a foam roller/massage stick, the speed at which you move over an area plays an important role in the message you are sending to the muscle. 
  • Rapid movement stimulates the area and prepares it for activity 
  • Slow movement relaxes the area and is more suited for recovery 
  • Vibration can be useful for improving tissue flexibility, increasing local blood and lymphatic flow and reducing sensitivity to pain 


Managing Injuries 

  • Acute injuries: this occurs where there is a definite mechanism of injury, and an immediate onset of pain and change to function  
  • Initial management needs to manage any pain and swelling, and to allow appropriate rest for tissue repair 
  • Use the POLICE acronym for acute injury management 
  • P: Protection. Avoid any movements or loads that place additional stress on injury site 
  • OL: Optimal Load: Most injuries require some movement to enhance healing. Movements should not cause pain and should be performed slowly and controlled 
  • I: Ice. Brief ice application can assist in pain management (2 x 5 minute applications per hour) 
  • C: Compression. Light bandaging to reinforce and protect injured area. This encourages effective communication between the injured site and brain 
  • E: Elevation. Position the injured area above the level of the heart where possible to decrease fluid build up 
  • Overuse injuries: These are injuries that develop over time that are often related to previous injury sites or positions that create an excessive amount of load on a structure. 
  • Some movement is vital to recovery 
  • The most common method of injury is repeated micro-trauma. Tissues respond to repetitive injury by thickening tissues and negatively changing the organisation of their structure 
  • Management strategies for overuse injuries: 
  • Intermittent heat – encourages blood flow to the area and can improve the flexibility of the connective tissues 
  • Proper hydration and nutrition can ensure that tissues have the necessary ingredients to repair and to remain healthy 


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