Creating a solid exercise plan, no matter the difficulty level, and keeping up with it is a wonderful feeling. We all require at least a decent amount of exercise in our regular routines in order to stay healthy and strong, but it’s important to approach all workouts carefully.
Nearly every type of exercise may result in injury if you don’t take the proper precautions before a workout. Luckily, preventing injury while exercising is easy as long as you follow these simple tips.
Every workout should start with a few minutes of warm-up exercises. Warming up prepares your body for a workout by gently increasing heart rate and blood flow, improving the flexibility in your joints and muscles and getting organs such as your heart and lungs revved up. Some good light warm-ups include a few minutes of walking, bike riding, jumping rope or jogging in place.
You don’t want to jump into a workout while you’re still slightly winded from the warm up. Allow yourself to cool down first to avoid strain. Simply rest for a minute, rehydrate if necessary and allow your heart rate to return to normal before continuing.
Although it seems to have become conventional wisdom that you should always stretch before a workout, whether or not this practice helps prevent injury is unclear. Most people agree, however, that the best time to do stretching is after warming up and cooling down.
Stretching on its own may not be enough to prevent injury, but doing it after your body has already been warmed up may help further increase your range of motion and elasticity.
Work Your Way Up
Many people, especially those just starting or getting back into exercising, try to do too much too quickly in order to get a jump start on their fitness plan. However, while the ambition is admirable, it can also be dangerous.
Doing too much before your body is ready may strain muscles, overtax the heart and possibly even cause permanent damage to ligaments and nerves. Start with light exercise and fewer reps, and then gradually build your way up.
Increase machine resistance and free weights by just a few pounds every few days. Gradually increase reps by one or two each day. Never be afraid to challenge yourself, but always be aware of your limits.
Work Around Existing Injuries And Problem Areas
Some people who have had previous injuries or pain due to some other cause believe that working out those areas will help relieve the pain and even help the healing process.
While exercise is a key part of physical therapy, you need to know exactly how to work out these areas to avoid further injury, pain and even permanent damage. For example, if you have pain in your ankles, feet or knees, you might want to avoid jogging, leg presses and calf raises.
Instead, use a stationary bike or try some aerobics exercises that don’t require your legs to bear weight. There are always alternative methods to work out certain areas of your body without exacerbating existing issues.
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Get A Personal Trainer Or Coach
Fitness professionals can be invaluable when trying to create a safe workout regimen. While many exercises may seem simple and straightforward enough for anyone to do, improper technique may result in serious injury. A professional trainer or coach can tell you how to do certain exercises in the safest and most effective ways possible.
Always Be Properly Hydrated And Nourished
People become so focused on how healthy and strong they seem on the outside that they frequently forget to take care of themselves on the inside. A body that is dehydrated and improperly nourished can place a lot of strain on the internal organs.
Depending on the extent of neglect, you can subject weak muscles that may tear under stress, or inadvertently cause organ damage and even organ failure. Always take several water breaks during your workouts, and ensure that your diet consists of plenty of nutrients that your body needs to function properly, especially protein.
Try to avoid working out when you’re hungry. You don’t need a big meal beforehand, but a light and healthy snack in the meantime will help keep your energy up and stock up on vital nutrients.
Workout clothes aren’t just for style. They’re also for practical purposes. They’re breathable and lightweight, helping prevent overheating, and they’re tight enough to keep from snagging on equipment.
If you’re a runner or jogger, having shoes that provide you with proper support to reduce stress on your knees and feet can make a big difference in how far and how long you run. Even a good pair of socks made of synthetic fabric can help prevent minor injuries such as blisters.
Get Plenty Of Rest
Adequate sleep and relaxation are essential to preventing workout-related injuries. Sleep ensures that your body and brain are at peak condition to focus properly, process nutrients, burn calories and improve muscle growth.
Having periods of rest allows you to catch your breath, relieve some stress from your body and re-energize in order to continue your workout or your regular day. Don’t work out every day of the week. Even if you rest up regularly throughout the workout, your body still needs one or two days of rest per week.
Always Pay Attention To Pain
When someone tells you, “No pain, no gain,” ignore them. Everyone has those periods of soreness after a hard workout, but there’s a difference between soreness from strenuous exercise and actual pain. If you feel pain in any part of your body during a workout, stop immediately.
Pain tells you something is wrong within your body, and you shouldn’t brush it off as being a part of the exercising experience. Doing so may result in serious injury and permanent damage. Consult a doctor immediately to diagnose the cause of the pain, and ask them for suggestions on working around it if necessary.
Get A Regular Spotter
A spotter’s job is to keep an eye on you while working out in order to help prevent accidents from happening and to assist you if anything goes wrong. Since accidents and health problems can easily occur during a workout, a spotter is essential in preventing injuries.
They’re especially useful during those last few reps during weight training to prevent the weights from falling on your if your muscles start to fail, and they help replace the weights on the rack when you’re done. Additionally, spotters are a necessity for gymnasts in order to make sure they don’t slip and fall on equipment.
Spotters are easier to get than personal trainers, and they’re almost always free. People are usually willing to spot someone during a workout, especially weight training, in order to keep everyone safe and sound.
No one is immune to injury, and careless exercising can easily cause harm to anyone. As long as you follow these tips and stay focused at all times, you’ll be sure to stay as safe as possible while you get in shape. Remember, being safety-conscious at the gym or in workout groups can help keep the people around you safe as well.