Regardless of if you are an experienced athlete or just getting started in your exercise journey, injuries are often a part of life. While you can never prevent injuries entirely, there are proactive steps that you can take to reduce the chance that they throw you off of achieving your fitness goals. Here are five proven ways that you can help to prevent injuries when training.
It is tempting to get overly excited when starting a new workout routine or activity and want to do it as much as possible. However, doing too much too fast is simply a recipe for disaster when it comes to injuries.
The greatest risk of injury comes when just starting a new routine. This is particularly true if you are not entirely sure of what you are doing. Instead of jumping right into the activity, it is important that you take your time and work your way up.
Along this same line, you need to know when to stop. You do not want to keep working out to the point of pain. Although a certain amount of soreness and fatigue is nothing to worry about, working out through the pain may cause even greater injury down the road.
Consult the Professionals
Even the most seasoned athletes do not always have all of the answers. If you find yourself experiencing reoccurring aches and pains, you would be wise to consult the advice of a medical professional.
A professional chiropractor will be able to examine you and ascertain why you are having issues. Many athletes find that regular chiropractic care can be an effective preventative treatment, helping them to compete at higher levels of proficiency. If you want to look for a reputable chiropractor start by looking in your area. For example, if you live in Georgia, you can search for a chiropractor in Jonesboro, GA.
A physical therapist is also helpful in helping clients to design a workout that works within the parameters of their overall health and physical capabilities. This type of medical professional is effective at both preventative care and providing treatment for acute injuries.
Learn the Proper Technique
Learning the proper technique can have a profound effect on the success of your exercise routine. Before you jump into any new workout program, be sure that you take the time to learn the correct form.
For example, many people struggle with learning the proper form when doing a squat, leading to a higher chance of muscular or joint injuries. In order to learn the right form, you can work with a trainer at the gym. It is well worth your initial investment of money and time to ensure that you are doing it right the first time.
You will sweat any time that you engage in vigorous physical activity. As this happens, you begin to lose crucial fluids that your body needs to power you through the rest of your routine. If you are not properly hydrated headed into your workout, your performance will suffer and you will be more prone to injuries such as pulled muscles.
In order to be properly hydrated, you need to drink water before you get thirsty. As you continue through your routine, be sure to take regular sips of water. When you are finished, be diligent about replenishing everything that you lost.
If you are unsure about how much water you are losing during a workout, you can try weighing yourself both before and after your exercise routine. You will likely see that you are losing a significant amount of water as you exercise, necessitating that you replace those lost fluids.
Cold muscles are more likely to experience an injury. This makes it important that you engage in a proper warm-up routine. Performing light activity and dynamic stretches will yield the best results.
For example, a good warm-up might consist of a light jog or walk to warm up the muscles and help your blood to start pumping to your muscles. If you are in the gym you could also opt for biking on a machine for several minutes or an elliptical machine as these are great ways to warm up that have a low impact on your joints. If you have any muscles that are feeling particularly sore it is a good idea to make sure they are extra warm before lifting heavy weights are doing high impact exercise. You can also start by doing warm-up sets with a lighter weight before using a heavier weight when lifting.
While stretching is important for warming up the muscles, static stretching is not a good idea as this can lead to you being more likely to pull a muscle. Therefore, when warming up it is advised to do dynamic stretches that go through your full range of motion without holding the stretch.
After your work out, you need to cool down these muscles and joints just as you warmed them up. Finish your routine with a light jog or walk and then practice some gentle stretching. This will also help to promote flexibility, making the muscles less prone to further injury. This is the best time to do static stretches to improve your flexibility as this is when your muscles are the warmest and ready to be stretched. Try to avoid getting directly in your car and driving home without letting your muscles cool down as this can make you feel more stiff and sore the next day.
Whether you are an A-list athlete or someone just starting out, it is important that you take care of your body and do your best to prevent injury in the first place. If you are older it is especially important, as you become more prone to injuries as you get older, and as you age, it can take longer to recover from those injuries. This makes it important that you take the right steps now to mitigate the damage to vulnerable areas.