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Fitness Injuries On The Rise Since The Pandemic

Data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS for short) captured at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic revealed a significant shift in fitness practice. Millions of Americans chose to exercise at home as gym and fitness centers were forced to close in 2020. 

Unfortunately, the home training trend has also seen a sharp increase in injuries, leading to 48% more visits to the emergency room in 2020 than the year before. Workout injuries affected individuals of all ages, predominantly those with low general activity levels across the day. As Brett Durney, co-founder of Fitness Lab, explains: “Many people have taken on home workouts that involve new movements.” Indeed, the pandemic has considerably increased the desire to stay fit, which has contributed to over 10,500 home injuries, according to national estimates in 2020. 

Two years down the line, injuries remain a predominant risk in the fitness sector, despite the re-opening of gyms. So, how can the U.S. support fitness aspirations while keeping the population safe? 

 

Medically-approved fitness tracking devices

Doctors have long been vocal about the importance of knowing your own body. Fitness tracking devices have enabled fitness enthusiasts to do just that. Countless reports show that fitness trackers can give additional insights that can contribute to seeking healthcare. Patients have contacted doctors after detecting anomalies on their trackers, saving their lives in the process. 

So, we can’t help but ask when the healthcare profession will be able to collaborate with the fitness industry to create a health insurance covered device that can monitor fitness goers’ health and report to their family doctors. Indeed, countless devices already exist to make health monitoring accessible and manageable. These devices could also reduce cardiovascular and muscle strain by increasing risk awareness for amateur athletes and their doctors. 

Reducing illicit substance dependence 

Muscle soreness is part of the recovery journey in every fitness program. Unfortunately, the use of illicit drugs and harmful stimulants among gym-goers to increase muscle mass and reduce perceived soreness remains alarmingly high. In the long term, it can have damaging effects on mental and physical health. However, the desire to achieve dream fitness results contributes to more and more individuals taking risks. 

Personal trainers warn about these cheat methods that add bulk and stamina at the individual’s risk. Instead, they recommend consistency, knowledge of one’s own strength and limits, and understanding of crucial injury-preventing strategies such as the KT tape MCL technique for strains of the inner knee. Excessive medicated training could also develop muscle weaknesses as people fail to perceive soreness, fatigue, and additional health conditions that will affect recovery. 

Yet, it’s hard to find a successful approach to taking down drugs in the gym, as individuals pursue medicated workouts despite full awareness of the negative side effects. As the risk of injuries and drug-induced complications increases, it’s time for the healthcare sector to develop dedicated substance abuse programs for fitness centers. 

It is ironic, somehow, that fitness, a sector dedicated to the improvement, enhancement, and bettering of the body, has become the black sheep of the healthcare sector, driving more injuries and health conditions than ever before. Would a partnership between the fitness and healthcare sectors help make America’s gyms safe again? We can only hope for a fully targeted program to save us from being blindly fit. 

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