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How to balance exercise, diet and sleep to get in shape

Woman lifting weight guided by male instructor

In my younger years, I was an exercise nut. The good news is I was fit and lean and loved to work out. The bad news is I overdid it.

One way you can overdo it is to keep going even though you are injured. If, for example, I strained my shoulder doing heavy bench presses, I would gobble down a bunch of ibuprofen to mask the pain so that I wouldn’t miss my next workout. Now I know how stupid that was and that my injury needed to heal completely before challenging my shoulder again. Instead, I compounded my original injury with more trauma, opening the door to osteoarthritis (bone rubbing on bone), and ultimately to major shoulder repair surgery later in life.

Pushing through injuries is a common fallacy in our society, probably stemming from the philosophy of most coaches. Sprain an ankle, no big deal. Run it off or retape it and get right back in the game. When you do this, the original injury is made worse.

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