Tendons attach muscle to bone and play a vital role in movement and exercise.
Tendons need to be incredibly strong as they need to be able to withstand the force of our muscles contracting. When we exercise, we put stress on our tendons which when applied appropriately helps them to become stronger and more resilient. It is important to gradually increase the amount of load (force) that we put on our tendons when starting a new exercise program, to allow them time to adapt and build the required strength we desire. If we do too much too soon, we can overload our tendons and injury may result.
An understanding of biomechanics is key when figuring out the appropriate load. Load may be measured in time, distance or weight as examples. Managing how long, how far and how much is crucial in training and injury management. If you're starting exercise after a long period or inactivity, or while recovering from an injury, it's important to consider different loading factors. While walking may be a more gentle exercise, walking for too far or too long can still be too much on some tendons. Lifting weights while often more intense may be more appropriate to recover, with smaller weights or less repetitions. It's a complicated science and certainly takes a lot of knowledge to get it right!
While the type and quantity of exercise you do is important, other considerations may also be helpful in managing load and reducing stressors on our body which may lead to injury - for example ensuring adequate sleep, good nutrition and managing daily life stressors. What might be a appropriate for an office worker who gets 8 hours of sleep a night is certainly different than what might work for a new mum working on small broken blocks of sleep. Load is certainly not one size fits all!
Before starting a new exercise or rehab program, discuss with your Physiotherapist what this may involve. They will be able to assess your strength and give you specific exercises that will help to improve your conditioning without causing injury. They will also be able to guide the best way to approach and progress your exercise program as you improve.
Please note: If you have pain at any time while exercising, it is important to seek medical advice from a healthcare professional.
Do you have any questions about exercise and tendon health? Leave a comment below and let us know! We're always happy to help answer any questions you may have. Our Tarragindi physiotherapists would love to work with you to help you find your healthiest self. Give us a call on 07 3706 3407 or find a booking here.