Do you have to warm-up before a workout? Is doing the same workout everyday bad for your body? Do shoes matter? Knowing the answers to those questions and understanding more about safely exercising can prevent injuries.
Training injuries are not only painful, but they also can hinder your fitness goals. Keep in mind; injuries don’t just happen to exercise rookies. Anyone regardless of their fitness level can get hurt during a workout. Although you may not always be able to avoid a few aches and pains after exercise, you can decrease your chances of injuring yourself.
Why Exercise Injuries Occur
You can hurt yourself exercising when the joints, ligaments or muscles are stressed beyond normal. Common exercise injuries include runner’s knee, plantar fasciitis and shin splints. Sprains, strains and back pain are also common.
Muscles, joints and ligaments may be overloaded and stretched past their limits if you dive into exercise too quickly without warming up first. Exercising too vigorously and not knowing your limits, can also stress muscles, leading to strains and pulls. Using incorrect form can also increase your chances of an injury.
When it comes to exercise injuries, prevention is your best bet. There are several things you can do to decrease the risk of hurting yourself including:
- Consider working with a trainer: If you are just starting an exercise program, working with a personal trainer is a good option. Trainers can provide safety tips, help you progress safely and reach your goals without hurting yourself.
- Wear the right shoes: Make sure you are wearing supportive shoes for the activity you are doing. Your feet take a pounding during exercise, and supportive footwear is a must.
- Ease into workouts: Don’t jump into a workout full speed ahead. Vigorous exercise with cold muscles spells trouble. Warm-up for about ten minutes before more strenuous exercise to prepare your body. A warm-up can include light cardio and dynamic stretching. A good warm-up increases circulation, body temperature and muscle elasticity.
- Use proper form: One of the fastest ways to hurt yourself is by using incorrect technique. Improper form can take its toll on your muscles and joints leading to an injury. For instance, if you’re using the stair climber and resting your arms on the railing or using improper form lifting weights, you can end up getting hurt.
- Take things slowly: Gradually increase exercise intensity and duration. For example, if you’re running, consider sticking to the same mileage for about two or three weeks to give your body time to adjust. Consider increasing your mileage no more ten percent at a time.
- Mix things up: Doing the same exercises or workouts each time can lead to an overuse injury. Consider cross training and varying your workouts. Switching things up may prevent injuries from repetitive movements. Plus, doing something different prevents boredom and challenges your muscles differently.
- Listen to your body: If you feel a sudden pain when performing a certain exercise, stop what you’re doing. There is a difference between normal muscle soreness after exercise and pain due to injury. Also, if you do get hurt, give yourself plenty of time to recover before jumping back into exercise.