As stated previously, most overuse injuries are 100%  preventable. Yet, they remain the most common of all injuries. For example, various studies have estimated that up to 70% of runners sustain an overuse injury each year. Because over 80% of these (running) injuries occur at or below the knee, most people (athletes, coaches, medical professionals) believe that improper foot mechanics ( such as excessive pronation) and footwear (shoes) are the primary cause of running injuries. But that conclusion is not supported by a review of research studies (Suspected Mechanisms in the Cause of Overuse Running Injuries: A Clinical ReviewSports Health: A Multidisciplinary Approach May 2009 1:242246; doi:10.1177/1941738109334272).

It is human nature to blame something else (in this case the foot/shoe) rather than the real cause of overuse injuries…the person doing the exercise. If people would just listen to their body, overuse injuries could be easily avoided. Here is where dogs seem to be smarter than humans. No one needs to tell dogs when to rest or ease up when they are tired. Almost anyone who exercises with their dog on a regular basis has observed this.

I will use my dog (Costa) as an example. Costa is a golden retriever and loves to play “fetch” and run.  After a particularly intense day of play/exercise, he will lay around the house and refuse to play fetch. When we go on our daily walk/run, he mostly walks. After a day or so of rest, Costa resumes playing fetch and gradually increases the amount of running he does each day with me until he is back to his normal running. Costa makes these activity-level decisions based on how his body feels.

Being aware that the body is sore, tired and in need of rest….and then resting enough to allow the body to recover, is “common sense” for a dog. Why then do so many people insist on exercising when their body is telling them to rest? Are dogs really smarter than humans?