Those new to the world of exercising often worry whether they are at risk of developing a hernia from the gym. One of the main causes is that hernia can develop if one engages in strenuous exercises and strains their weaker muscles, as by lifting heavy weights. Let us dwell deeper into whether you must worry about this or not.
What is a hernia?
A hernia is a weakness in abdominal muscles or tissues, wherein the organs or tissues protrude outwards and form a bulge. It can occur in the abdomen, groin, upper thigh, Wishbone, or thighs. Previous abdominal surgery and old age increases the risk of a hernia in both men and women.
If you are a regular to the world of gymming and working out, or are starting new, there are some things you might not know that can cause a hernia, some of the reasons are:
- Not maintaining a healthy body weight: Losing weight rapidly by doing a diet or a sudden change in exercise plan can instigate a hernia. If you are overweight, your body’s abdominal wall will be under pressure from the extra fat when you do your daily activities.
- Doing exercises that pressure the abdominal wall: There are a few exercises which do not pressure the abdominal wall and are good to be done, but others might be risky for the body as they affect the weaker muscles.
- Eating less fibres: Eating fibres keeps your bowel movements clear and free from the risk of constipation. Constipation strains the muscles and in such a case exercising increases the risks of a hernia.
- Smoking: Smoking can put pressure on the abdominal wall and increase the risks of hernia and also of other health conditions that you might already be having.
- Lifting heavy objects: Doing heavy lifting exercises or picking up heavy objects can strain the muscles and lead to a hernia. If you do need to pick up a heavy object, it is better to bend down at your knees and lift it instead of at the waist to pick it up.
- Having a Build-up prostate: An Build up prostate leads to straining while urination, and this as a result strains the abdominal wall, putting one at risk of developing a hernia.
Can hernia be developed in the gym?
Yes. A hernia can be developed at the gym. The aforementioned causes, combined with indulging in too many exercises too fast and doing exercises that strain the abdominal muscles lead a person at the risk of developing a hernia.
The main thing to keep in mind is that you must give your body time to adjust to the new exercise routine that you are doing. Strengthen your muscles gradually instead of being the star gym member on day 1 itself. It is also important that you do the exercise properly or follow the technique for lifting. Without following them, you may hurt yourself and affect your muscles further.
How to prevent it?
There are various ways that you can go to the gym, work out intensively and at the same time not develop a hernia. Some such ways are:
- Let your body adjust to the exercise and diet routine: Start slow and let your body adjust to the new exercise routine. Likewise, do not lose weight rapidly as it will weaken your muscles. Keep a healthy balance and take things slow.
- Eat fibres: Fibre-rich food like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds and legumes must be consumed to prevent constipation. A strained bowel movement will put pressure on the muscles.
- Avoid constipation: If you are prone to constipation you can also think of taking laxatives on a regular basis. Drink plenty of water and don’t let your muscles strain.
- Avoid doing certain exercises: Some exercises strain the abdominal muscles and must be done only for a certain number of sets that the trainer recommends. These exercises are:
- Lifting heavy weights
- Squats (with weights)
- Jumping exercises
- Inverted yoga poses
- Get persistent coughing treated: Coughing strains the abdominal muscles and so it is advisable to get it treated to prevent any risks to develop because of it. Quit smoking for the same reason as well.
Lifting heavy weights is one of the most common causes that can cause a hernia. Also, it is advised that people who have undergone recent abdominal surgery should avoid indulging into strenuous exercises as it may strain the abdominal muscles and force the tissues outside the muscular wall leading to hernia. Try doing light-moderate exercise if you are conscious about your weight or want to remain healthy and fit.