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Technoid

Am I too active?

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Hello! I'm new here, please be nice..


I'm 20, 5'6" male, 145-ish lbs. I started dancing when I was 15 and didn't really know what I was doing. I have injured both my ankles, knees, and shoulders, which give me trouble from time to time. It used to be really bad but now that I'm more active and stretch well it's very manageable.


I have lots of goals. Most of all, I want to be able to dance regularly without getting/aggrevating an injury. I also want to be able to do a little bit of parkour, and I want to be able to run fast for a mile non-stop. I'd also like to be able to run to work and back without being too tired to work, and without getting injured, if that's doable.


I walk 1.5 miles mostly uphill to work, on my feet for 8 hours straight (mostly walking), occasionally 14, with only 1-4 days off every 14 days, so usually about 5 days straight walking 3 miles a day. As long as I stretch good afterwards, my knees feel great, it's helped a lot. I'm looking into switching to a job 4 miles away and riding a bike instead, which I'm a little concerned about because whenever I rode an exercise bike when I was younger it made my knees hurt horribly, but that was years ago before they were so much better, so hopefully it won't repeat.


The beginning of this year I started power walking to work and back, it's been fun and it's nice saving time. My record is 18 minutes, usually 20-25. Since I can keep pace with 130-140 bpm songs the entire trip and sometimes feel like I'm going easy now, I decided to start running. Since I can't even run at a slow pace for more than like, 1-5 minutes, I've been doing HIIT sprints uphill once a week on a day off.


For long (5+) days with no day off, I power walk for two thirds and take it easy the last third of the row, then rest on the day off. Otherwise I power walk the entire set of work days, and depending on where my days off are placed and if I get two in a row or not, I figure out what day to rest, what day to dance, and what day to do sprints. Every two weeks I pick a day off to power walk 1.8 miles to the laundromat carrying a.. 30lbs? duffel bag of laundry over my back. That week, I don't do sprints, as I'm usually sore for like three days afterwards. Preferably I'm off that day and the next and I rest the day after, but sometimes it can't be helped.


Now that I'm getting good sleep regularly and have more time every day, I'm going to start doing injury prevention/strength training calisthenics two hours before work every day, alternating legs one day and arms+core the next. Depending on how I feel I may power walk less often at first.


Am I too active? I broke my rule of no sprints after the laundromat this week, two days later I had a day off and felt like walking around town a little over a mile, then sprinting up my usual hill. I only did it twice, mostly running the first and sprinting the second, because while I was walking my knee didn't feel the greatest. It was probably a bad idea in retrospect, but I stretched super good and it's been fine the rest of the day.


My biggest goal is to be able to dance before work 4 times a week, because only having one day off a week negates pretty much any dance practice, and alternating that and the calisthenics for injury prevention. I'd like to also continue running if I could.


But for now, should I stop doing sprints and focus more on dance/calisthenics/rest those days, or will the sprints help me get strong enough to be able to do stuff like dancing before work without getting too worn out at work? Or is that more of a strength training thing?

 

Should I alternate power walking days instead of doing them multiple days in a row? Should I lower the rest of my activity a lot once I'm riding a bike 8 miles a day and working 12 hour shifts on my feet, or if I feel up to it and still take a rest day, can I keep doing sprints?

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'Too much activity' is relative to your personal history, genetics, and recovery strategy. You've listed a lot of exercise that you do, but nothing about your diet or rest protocols. In terms of injury recovery I'd recommend chatting with a physiotherapist who has experience with dancers.

 

Two hours of calisthenics IS overkill, and arguably not useful for your goals. I'd say that it's a great idea to add some resistance training, but typically much more than an hour starts to be counterproductive, in terms of how your body is responding hormonally. But sprinting on it's own will not help build muscle to the extent that you want in order to prevent injury. If you need a good place to start, I'd consider adding this to your mornings 3-4 days a week: https://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/beginner-body-weight-workout-burn-fat-build-muscle/

 

Other things to take note of:

- are you consuming enough protein? ~1g/lb of bodyweight is a good guideline for building muscle

- are you sleeping enough/well? ~7-8+hrs/night of quality sleep is essential, you mentioned getting more but is it enough?

- are you managing your stress? meditation, gratitude journaling, colour books, etc. are all useful to help lower stress

- are you consuming sufficient calories? if you are not eating enough to fuel your body you will not get stronger and you'll be more prone to injury, especially if you're working out a lot

- make sure to take a full day off at least once a week; no power walking, sprinting, or workouts

 

You're still quite young, and you need your body to work well for decades yet; be safe and go slow, injury recovery is no fun. Don't forget to have fun!

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