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Too Much Autumn Exercise Could be Bad for Your Health

Posted September. 05, 2005 07:06,   


As it gets less hot in the mornings and evenings, more people want to play soccer in the morning, or swim or jog to lose some weight around their middles. But one is likely to get injured if one is not cautious.

“When it is cooler, our body gets less flexible. So if you exercise too hard without warming-up, you may get muscle strain and inflammation around the joints,” said Lee Gyeong-tae, an orthopedics professor at Eulji General Hospital.

Muscle aging begins in one’s 40s, but stretching can help

No matter what type of exercise you do, stretching is a necessary precaution to prevent muscle injuries.

“Your muscles will start to weaken when you are in your 40s. You need to give more flexibility to your muscles through stretching exercises. You can stretch the areas around the important joints such as the ankles, knees, waist, shoulders and neck for 10 to 20 minutes. To maximize the benefit, you need 10-to-15-second pauses,” advised Kim Seung-gi, who heads the sports injury clinic at Sun General Hospital.

Someone who does not exercise normally could have his knees, hips or feet injured if he or she plays soccer. Being too enthusiastic about getting exercise is the enemy of health. One must put a limit on the length of one’s game.

Running and jogging could be too much to handle for your body if you start to run or jog suddenly, or do not prepare yourself by properly warming up. The intensity and length of exercise should be adjusted not to overwork your body. Runners should avoid increasing their running distance by 10 percent within a week. That means if you cover 50km this week, you should not be running more than 55km the next week.

It is equally important what type of shoes you wear. Shoes for exercise must be soft-soled and have a soft pad that protects the Achilles tendon. For a running course, a soft, grassy one will tire the legs least. And an asphalt road is less harmful to your legs than a concrete one.

Yoga or pilates can help you become more flexible, but you may sustain muscle injuries more easily as you move on to more difficult poses. Therefore, it is required for you to learn difficult poses step by step with patience.

Heartburn or chest pain is a sign that you must stop exercising immediately

Too-vigorous exercise causes pain. At first, the pain could be mild.

“You should evaluate your exercise time, intensity, frequency and habits, paying attention to any pain in your body,” said Park Won-ha, a professor of sports medicine at the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at Samsung Medical Center.

You must stop exercising and see a doctor, if you have any of the following symptoms: you have heartburn or chest pain; you are seriously breathless; you feel nauseous; you cannot control the muscles and move your arms and legs; you have severe post-injury pain; pain lasts for more than three days after you stumbled, fell, had a sprain or other injuries; an external wound does not heal up for more than three weeks; and you have a fever, swollen lymphatic gland and skin inflammation.

Jin-Han Lee likeday@donga.com