Here are 6 tips to avoid workout injuries regardless of your fitness level or experience. Remember workout injuries can happen to you. However, there are precautions you can take to lessen the chances significantly.
1. Have a Pre- and Post- Workout Routine
The most common fitness rituals involve warm-ups and stretching.
A lot of injuries are often the result of starting to exercise without taking a few minutes to loosen up the muscles or stimulate the blood flow to the joints. Raise your heart rate and body temperature with a few minutes of aerobic activity.
And after your workout, set aside some time to stretch before calling it a day. Stretching after a workout reduces muscle fatigue because your muscles are warm and you benefit from the increase in blood circulation.
2. Know Your Body
To avoid exercise injury is to know your body. You may have a history of a prior injury or have experienced strain in a specific part of your body. Recognize that everyone’s bodies are unique and what your friend or trainer can physically achieve may not apply to you. Their limits are not yours.
For example, if you’ve been noticing pain in your knee, you shouldn’t be aggravating an already weakened knee by doing leg presses, running on the treadmill, or using the stepper. Instead, avoid pressure or weight on the knee by using the stationary bike or the elliptical machine. However, if the pain persists, you should have a specialist have a look at it.
And if you have problems with your hips, indoor cycling classes may not be for you. If you have weak wrists, stay away from weight lifting. If you have a bad back, back stretches on a stability ball will likely worsen your condition.
Don’t ignore the weakest parts of your body. Recognize and respect that you have your limitations.
3. Don’t Ignore Fatigue
If you ignore fatigue when it hits you, you will undoubtedly injure yourself. It is one thing to push through the pain or overcoming the fear mentally, but when you ignore your body’s warning signs that it needs to rest, you could potentially harm yourself.
Ensure that you are getting adequate sleep before workout sessions. Rest between each set. Most importantly, know the difference between absolute exhaustion and the lack of motivation.
When you repeat the same muscle movements frequently, you end up overusing one set of muscles which ultimately lead to repetitive-use injuries such as tendinitis and shin splints.
By varying your workouts, you can avoid the overuse of your muscles and get more out of your exercise sessions. For example, you could swim on day 1, lift weights on day 2, and run on day 3.
5. Mind Your Form and Technique
The majority of injuries that occur in the gym are those where the individual exercising or lifting is executing them with poor form, improper alignment, or are mishandling the equipment altogether.
Poor technique can lead you to pull or rip a muscle or tear delicate connective tissue. Learn about proper form and technique from an expert in the gym, if you have to.
6. Eat Right
Restricted eating or severe low-fat, low-carb and low-sugar dieting can leave you in a weakened state. To avoid workout injuries, leave heavy lifting, forced reps, and low reps for when you are not on a diet.
Under-eating and overtraining are not a good combination. Both can lead to irritability and the inability to concentrate which can eventually result in injury. If you are going to workout regularly, complement your efforts with proper nutrition that gives you enough fuel to effectively get you through your exercise sessions.
After You Exercise
Cool down after a workout for five to 10 minutes. It won’t prevent workout injuries, but it will help prevent muscle cramps and dizziness while slowing quick breathing and a fast-beating heart.
In between workouts, make sure you pay attention to muscle soreness. Soreness that begins 12 to 24 hours after exercise is normal. But if you have persistent or intense muscle pain that starts during a workout or right afterward, or persists more than one to two weeks, call your doctor.
If you go for an extended period of time without exercising, drop back if necessary when you start again by shortening cardio workouts, doing cardio at a lower intensity, lifting lighter weights, choosing easier exercises, or doing fewer reps or sets. This will help keep you on a safe exercise program and avoid workout injuries.
Rest and recovery are critical to your post exercise routine and to help prevent future injuries. If that knee is feeling a little achy, your soreness lasts for more than the recommended 24 to 48 hours, or you are just plain tired, then it is time to look over your exercise routine. Rest and recovery might be what your body is looking for. Make sure you take those rest days as your body is making actual gains during this time.
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