High-intensity workout wrecks havoc to hip, knee and back injuries in young people
High-intensity training has become a cult exercise regime, but can leave fitness fanatics with chronic diseases more common in elderly patients, says Southampton surgeon.
A form of strength training, it is made up of short bursts of strenuous exercise, leading to benefits that would take longer to achieve with traditional, low moderation workouts.
Gorav Datta, surgeon at Southampton General Hospital, explains that he now sees 200 patients under 30 each year suffering from hip, knee and back problems. However, three years ago he would only see 50 such people annually.
“I now see patients under 30 who have the types of bone and joint injuries we would previously have expected to see in people in their late 50s and 60s, with around a quarter requiring surgical intervention,” he says.
Datta further explains that any benefits for the heart did not take account of risks for the rest of the body.
“Cult fitness regimes and the use of over-zealous personal trainers, all of which emphasize high-intensity, high-impact work, appeal to those who want to cram exercise into their hectic daily lives.”
“The problem, however, is that these short and intense bursts and repetitions can wreak havoc with joints and, longer term, lead to the need for surgery.” he adds.
Originally developed for tack athletes, high-intensity workouts share the same principle of several bursts of full-pelt exercises lasting 30 seconds to a few minutes, with short rest periods. Exercises consist of a range of repetitive aerobic exercises, body weight exercises, weightlifting and gymnastics.
Several studies suggest that, although it improves cardiovascular fitness and control of blood sugar, advocates concede that it is not suitable for people who are not used to vigorous exercise.
Doctors also advise people, especially those who experience shoulder, back, knee or neck pain, to get medical check-ups before taking up any intense exercise.
“The message for young people to avoid this predicament is to be careful not to over train and to avoid some of the exercises that can trash the joints.
“That can be achieved by adopting more moderate workouts with adequate rest days and periods in between, while those with established joint problems could look to non-impact options such as swimming and cycling.” Datta says.
Oliver Tuson, an armed forces veteran who set up Oliver Tuson Personal Trainer company, explains many young people are not adequately prepared for taking up this intense weightlifting regime. Meanwhile, others do not warm up properly, putting their muscles and joints in danger.
“The health industry has grown and people are trying to copy what they see in glossy magazines. People should build up slowly and follow a structured regime from a professional who can assess their fitness.” he explains.