Which one is worse? Chronic or acute injury? Or are they actually the same thing? Are acute injuries a product of chronic destruction? Or are they both? Certainly the damage from an acute injury can result in chronic pain. Of course, some acute injuries are a product of a major accident, but some are just chronically worn parts that finally fail, yet are labeled “an accident.” In many instances, I believe that avoiding chronic wear does reduce your chance for acute injury, as we often fail at our weakest link.
Consider who you really are. If you are training as a paid athlete, you take risks – you are expected to. It is your career and your job to win, and so, you are aware that your hard training and sport might have consequences down the line. Are you training hard and competing hard because it is fun? You may want to contemplate the cost benefit of your competitive journey and what it might mean in ten to twenty years.
The Difference Between a Nova and a Ferrari
I see our bodies like cars. Some people come into a training situation like an old Nova and get right in there and race with the Ferraris. This is downright dangerous. You can give the Nova a tune-up, but you won’t ever make it a Ferrari! And to dream that you might get that Ferrari status is a false hope (sorry). That being said, the Nova can do just fine – if you do the right maintenance, drive her conservatively, and realize this important fact: she is a Nova!
Now, let us say that both the Ferrari and the Nova are racing and crash into a wall, sustaining destructive injuries to both cars, except that the Ferrari has a crumple zone and the Nova bursts into flames. Where am I going with this in the realm of training? Well, you can improve and become great at your exercise modality by getting strong and stable and perfecting your movement patterns to protect your joints. You may even become a classic amongst Novas. I encourage you to do that. Just realize what kind of parts you are working with. Will your joints hold? If they seem to be holding now, will they in the future? And how can you ensure that you are doing what you can to preserve and protect yourself so that you can be fit, along with maintaining a strong healthy body, down the road?
The Necessity of an Experienced Trainer
Here is where you need an experienced trainer. An inexperienced trainer may not know what they don’t know, and that is where it looks like the blind leading the willing. So, before you take part in a new fitness endeavor, make sure you know if your tires are bald before you decide to peel out – and your sidewalls blow off! This might mean the burpee challenge is not for you, especially if you have shoulder stability issues. And, your trainer, if experienced, will be cognitive of your strengths, as well as your weaknesses and be able to advise you accordingly.
Chronic injuries creep up on us usually from wear and tear, and they can also increase your risk for an acute injury. Jumping headlong into intense, repetitive, and unfamiliar motions can cause acute injury that turns chronic. There is no way we can avoid all danger, but we can use our heads and decide the correct path for ourselves. Accidents happen and we want to withstand them with the highest resilience possible.
Make sure your trainer is experienced and recognizes what kind of person he or she is working with. If a trainer never holds you back, ask why. Because if he or she is treating you like a Ferrari and you are really a Nova, there might be an unexpected repair bill – and that will be your responsibility.
Nova ad by Chevrolet pre-1978 (Chevrolet Ad – Time Magazine) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
Nova photo by IFCAR (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.