How do you monitor the amount of mechanical stress applied to your body?

INTENSITY (how hard you exercise): Intensity is the most important factor to consider when monitoring mechanical stress and the main contributor to the occurrence of injury. The harder you exercise, the more mechanical stress you are exposing your body to, e.g. going from a slow jog to running faster, or lifting increasingly heavier weights. Harder exercise sessions should be introduced very GRADUALLY to avoid injury and enhance adaptation.


DURATION (time spent exercising): Duration is the next factor to consider. By GRADUALLY building up the duration of your exercise by about 10% per week, you will allow your body to safely adapt over time and reduce your risk of injury.

FREQUENCY (how many times you exercise): After careful consideration of your intensity and duration, when you exercise more frequently you will increase your body’s capacity to accept greater amounts of mechanical stress safely and effectively. Alternating easier, longer exercise sessions with shorter, harder exercise sessions and including some rest days will allow your tissues to recover, remodel and become stronger.

The bottom line: AVOID…..TOO MUCH TOO SOON!

Thinking about the intensity, duration and frequency of your exercise will allow you to better monitor your levels of mechanical stress and your overall exercise load. You should also consider your type of work, i.e. whether it involves sitting or standing most of the day, and other activities of daily living when monitoring your daily levels of mechanical stress. Above all, simply AVOID DOING TOO MUCH TOO SOON. This strategy will ensure your exercise load is appropriately undertaken to optimize your adaptations, achieve your exercise goals and most importantly prevent injury!

By Michael Bushell, Senior Physiotherapist, In Touch Physio

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