'Over-zealous' personal trainers are wreaking havoc on young people's joints
The rise of cult fitness regimes and personal trainers has prompted a surge in knee, hip and back problems among young people, according to a leading doctor.
Gorav Datta, an orthopaedic surgeon in the UK's Southampton General Hospital, said the adoption of high-intensity workout regimes had contributed to a four-fold increase in bone and joint damage among patients under 30.
He said the increasing popularity of “explosive” exercise programmes, particularly among career-focused young people short on time, is causing the type of damage usually seen in patients in their late 50s.
Some of the most popular training regimes, which can be performed at gyms or at home, comprise a range of repetitive aerobic exercises, body weight exercises, weightlifting and gymnastics which are performed in 30-minute to hour-long workouts.
“Over the past few years there has been a real expansion in the fitness market designed to meet the needs of young people with many conflicting priorities,” said Mr Datta.
“Cult fitness regimes and the use of over-zealous personal trainers, all of which emphasise 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.”
The surgeon says he now sees around 200 hundred patients a year who are under 30 and suffering from hip and knee injuries, as well as back problems, compared to roughly 50 three years ago.
“The message for young people to avoid this predicament is to be careful not to over-train and to avoid some of the exercises and training regimes that can trash the joints.”
He said fitness-focused youngsters should moderate their workouts and include more rest days between sessions, while those with established joint problems should opt for non-impact sports such as swimming and cycling.