Many of us exercise to improve our fitness and get stronger. But if we injure ourselves, we end up worse off than where we were to begin with. Luckily Young Post’s resident qualified personal trainer has five tips to help you avoid injury.
Warm up properly
Warming up is one of the most important steps before exercising, but many people miss it. They tend to jump right into their workout without properly stretching the muscles which are going to be used. This often ends in tears.
If you’re planning to go running, you need to stretch your entire body, but especially your legs. Next, do a light jog to get the muscles ready to work, rather than shocking them when you start to move quickly.
Warming up and stretching loosens the joints and increases blood flow to the muscles, preparing them for physical activity. The same principle applies to any sport that requires aerobic activity such as cycling, swimming, and weightlifting.
Pay attention to your form
People who are new to exercise are more likely to injure themselves than regular gym bunnies, simply because they might not know how to work out safely. This is especially true for people who lift weights. Poor form can lead to serious injuries to your back, neck, and joints in your arms and legs.
Even if you don’t seriously injure yourself, poor form can lead to small injuries that you may not notice at first, but that can worsen over time. The stress you put on your knees and feet when you’re doing something as simple as running add up to something serious if you don’t maintain good posture. There are loads of online videos that provide step-by-step guides or, better yet, ask a professional for advice.
Get the right equipment
A sportsman is only as good as his tools. There is plenty of equipment you can buy to help prevent injuries from happening or getting worse.
If you play basketball, for example, make sure you wear specific basketball shoes with good ankle support.
And for any sport, if one of your joints feels strained, buy a wrap or brace to support that area so that it doesn’t get worse. The really good ones can be a bit pricey, but investing a few hundred dollars on something that you can reuse to ensure you don’t hurt yourself is better than risking your health and safety.
Eating and drinking enough
Working out when your energy is low can really take a toll on your health. Try to eat a substantial meal 30-45 minutes before you exercise so that your body doesn’t suffer.
It’s even more important to make sure you’re drinking enough fluids. You are more likely to pass out or suffer from heatstroke when exercising outdoors if you don’t.
Listen to your body
The worst thing you can do if you are physically exhausted or injured is force yourself to keep exercising. It is crucial to give your body enough time to fully recover after an intense workout if you want to be able to keep getting stronger.
We get it – if you love exercising, it can be frustrating to have to rest. But it’s very important to listen to your body. If you have a slight injury or your muscles are very sore, you should take a day off to rest and recover, rather than try to push through it. You’ll find that the next time you exercise you’ll be stronger and able to do more with each work-out session.