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Extreme home workouts pose extreme risks

CONTACT: Matthew Van Stone: 570-808-3248
August 8, 2012

DANVILLE, Pa. – Fad workout programs such as P90X® and Insanity® have taken the nation by storm as countless Americans work to get in shape – and do so fast – without stepping foot in a gym. But along with fast-acting, high-intensity, high-impact workouts comes the risk for serious orthopedic injury.

“The craze with extreme home workouts comes from the desire for fast and drastic results, which can be obtainable if the programs are followed precisely,” said Matthew McElroy, sports medicine physician, Geisinger Medical Center. “Many of the movements, especially plyometric workouts, are high-impact, ballistic workouts designed with less-than-optimal recovery time, which can put added stress on the body.”

According to Dr. McElroy, muscle injury is the most common ailment from extreme home workouts, occurring when weights are too heavy or when technique is incorrect. Joint and ligament injuries are also fairly common because the exercises put an elevated level of stress on the shoulders, wrists, ankles, knees and elbows.

“If extreme workouts are being done with proper technique, the most important factor in preventing injury during extreme workouts is gradually increasing reps and weight as to not put unneeded stress on joints, tendons and ligaments,” Dr. McElroy said. “Many of the workouts have very short breaks between exercises, so stretching before and after, warming up and cooling down, staying hydrated and taking breaks are imperative in preventing serious injury.”

Dr. McElroy also cautions those with existing cardiovascular conditions, such as an enlarged heart or high blood pressure, to consult with a physician before beginning extreme home workout programs. In many cases, the cardiovascular requirements of the workouts can be too taxing on those with weakened hearts.

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