There are always stories flying around about how to avoid injury, as well as what activities can cause injuries. Some of these are true, but unfortunately many are false. Everybody and every injury is different, and what works for one person may not work for another. Treating an injury the wrong way can not only prolong the recovery time, but can also make the injury worse. We explore the most common injury myths that you often hear and find out the truth behind the myths. Myth 1: Rest is always best Although severe injuries do require rest to make sure your muscles are sufficiently recovered, there is no need to become sedentary. More damage can be done if you stay still too long. You need to come back from injury slowly and carefully, but this does not mean bed rest for months at a time. Rest can be important to reduce inflammation and pain, it will not heal all injuries. Exercise actually promotes tissue healing. Tissues need to be worked out to get stronger so that they can handle the loads imposed on them on a daily basis. Resting prevents the tissues from getting worked out, therefore making muscle tissue lose strength and get smaller. Myth 2: Running is bad for you Running fast has sometimes been said to increase the risk of injury. It is true that speedy running makes the muscles work harder, but this is not a bad thing. Speed work helps to strengthen the leg muscles and should therefore help to prevent injuries. The stronger the muscle around a joint, the better protected the joint is. Another benefit of running is that it can actually help to strengthen your bones and ligaments, making your skeleton and muscles stronger. Myth 3: Avoid exercise after an injury The right workout plan can help you keep your muscles strong and limber to help you avoid further injury. Avoiding exercise can leave you weak and unbalanced and more prone to injury than not exercising at all. Myth 4: Stretching is an effective way to avoid injuries. Stretching can help to prevent injury and it is a great idea to make stretching an important part of your pre and post workout routine. Yes, dynamic stretching is an important part of a warm up, but stretching itself does not always help prevent injuries. However, too much stretching with cold muscles can be damaging to the delicate tendons and ligaments. The idea that heavy stretching should always be done before any type of exercise is mistaken and could well harm your muscles if they are still cold. Myth 5: If you’re not getting quick results, you should just give up Recovery from any injury takes time, so you shouldn’t get discouraged if you can’t pick up where you left off. You will likely need to build up your strength again, which can be frustrating, and it’s possible that your injury will prevent you from reaching your previous level of exercise intensity. That doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy physical activity again, however. It just means that you may need to switch up your exercise routine. Myth 6: Put Heat on New Injuries Putting heat on a new injury can actually make the injury worse by increasing swelling, which can cause it to become more painful. Immediately after an injury it is best to apply ice on the affected area to reduce swelling and help relieve the pain. Heat is a great option for ongoing muscular or joint pains, because it helps improve circulation and blood flow to the area, which can improve muscle flexibility. Myth 7: You can turn fat into muscle When you stop exercising, your muscle will diminish, but it does not literally turn into fat. The fat content may increase in your body and the muscle mass may decrease without continual resistance and cardio exercise, but the muscle and fat do not affect each other in this way. The way to keep fat off your body is to eat sensibly and exercise frequently. This good diet and exercise routine will keep your body in the best condition and help you avoid injury. Myth 8: Take a painkiller Taking painkillers help in the short term to get you through your workout, they can cause more damage in the long run. Pain is your body’s way of telling you something is wrong. While soreness and fatigue are normal after a hard workout. The best approach is to identify the problem as quickly as possible in order to minimize long-term damage and work to correct it so you can continue to do what you love without needing to mask how your body really feels.