Beware of Your New Year's Resolution if you Resolve to Get Fit in 2015

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Neurosurgeon Steve Barrer points out that overdoing it could lead to serious injury in his new book, Exercise Will Hurt You.

Dr. Steven J. Barrer, Exercise Will Hurt  You

Dr. Steven J. Barrer with his new book "Exercise Will Hurt You."

Just as the individual deserves to know the potential complications of surgical procedures or the dangers of climbing a ladder, so too should you be aware of the potential injuries that come from engaging in exercise or sports.

Whether you are an occasional jogger, skier, or yogi, a weekend warrior or a hardcore athlete, EXERCISE WILL HURT YOU, according to Dr. Steven J. Barrer, Director of The Neuroscience Institute and former Chief of the Division of Neurosurgery at Abington Memorial Hospital, and author of a new book by the same name (Seven Stories Press, Oct. 28, 2014). The only questions are when will it happen, how badly will you be injured, and how can you protect yourself?

From head and knee injuries to back and ankle sprains, everyone is injured as a result of exercise. In EXERCISE WILL HURT YOU, Philadelphia Magazine “Top Doc” Steven J. Barrer, MD explains how to reduce the incidence and severity by understanding the dangers, using good equipment, and taking precautions.

“Just as the individual deserves to know the potential complications of surgical procedures or the dangers of climbing a ladder, so too should you be aware of the potential injuries that come from engaging in exercise or sports,” explains Dr. Barrer. Before hitting the gym, field, court, or pavement, everyone should be fully informed: is the yoga teacher certified? Which racquet prevents tennis elbow? How will my knees, heart, and lungs be stressed?

Compare exercise to riding a motorcycle: the injury rate for motorcycle riders is greater than 100 percent—most riders have several injuries, although most of these are minor. The question of injury in sport/exercise, as in motorcycle riding, is not if you will be injured, but how bad will the injury be.

Often ignored, these common sense (but rarely followed) steps are essential to good health, long life, and good spirits:

  • Listen to your body.
  • Forget “No pain, no gain.” It’s a myth.
  • Use good equipment—it will improve safety.
  • Avoid a high “pound index” (don’t pound, pound, pound on asphalt).
  • Vary your workout—watch out for overuse injuries.
  • Be wary of nutritional supplements—many are scams and don’t contribute to health or exercise safety.

EXERCISE WILL HURT YOU explores each of these tips, why they are often overlooked (and the devastating consequences), and how we can change our attitude toward working out in order to live healthy and active lives.

Dr. Barrer explains how to avoid strains, fractures, and concussions. He details how injuries add up. (For example, it doesn’t just take one big hit or many big hits to the head to result in brain injury. Lots of little hits can cause concussion or brain injury.) “Educating yourself about the dangers of sports and exercise and demanding that those with oversight make an effort to mitigate them is the best way to protect yourself and still participate,” says Dr. Barrer.

Dr. Barrer also unravels the sports-industrial complex: the money made from tickets, equipment, training, and uniform/fashion sales, and how it contributes to injuries. The sports, exercise, and nutrition industries generate hundreds of billions of dollars in sales each year, and together they assure us that sports are essential to good health, for everyone from tiny tots to super seniors. They never hint that participating in sports can be harmful, or that some activities are not appropriate for three- or 100-year-olds. Dr. Barrer explains how the sports-industrial complex has warped our world: from schools cutting academics and arts before athletic budgets to soft-spoken suburban moms and dads screaming on the sidelines.

From skiing and golf to football, boxing, and extreme sports, EXERCISE WILL HURT YOU looks at how too much exercise can have ruinous, even life-threatening consequences…and what you can do to stay healthy and active.

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Jamie Schutz

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