Getting the proper amount of exercise every day is important to help maintain good health. But it’s not without its hazards – namely, physical injuries. Bodily issues big and small can pop up during your workout, and they can hinder both your progress and your motivation. The best thing is to be knowledgeable in the ways of injury prevention, so you can hopefully avoid any problems that might come up. A healthy body is one that’s fully capable of warming up, exercising, and cooling down without aches or soreness!
In this blog post, we’ll take a look at why it’s important to exercise properly – as well as some of the risk factors if you don’t – and a few ways that you can ensure an injury-free workout.
The Injury Risks
If you’ve ever spent any regular time in your life being physically active, you’ve likely suffered at least an injury or two. Whether these injuries were brief, nagging, or something more serious could potentially be chalked up to the way you exercise.
On the topic of the types of injuries you can suffer, the Men’s Health guide to injury prevention defines them in two ways: traumatic and cumulative. “Traumatic injuries are those accidents that happen in sport or daily life, such as rolling your ankle on a trail run or crashing your bike on the morning commute,” the guide explains. “Cumulative injuries relate to tissue damage that occurs over time as a result of repetitive strain. These types of injuries creep up and may be a function of poor posture, faulty movement patterns, or improper training.”
So although traumatic injuries can be caused through sudden accidents on the treadmill, cumulative injuries could be the result of something like continual improper form while lifting weights. Repetitive strain injuries can build up to cause lingering internal trauma and muscle tears, which can lead to significant pain and numbness in the affected area. Traumatic injuries can have an even more immediate and serious effect on one’s health. Either way, it’s best to head into a workout with a mental checklist for the proper way to exercise, so you can hopefully avoid any detrimental effects to your sweat session.
Injury-Preventing Workout Tips
Although accidents can happen at any time, there are a few things you can do to make sure you’re lessening the chance of an injury during your workout:
Treat Your Feet to Proper Shoes. You might not notice it at first, but if you’re constantly working out in worn-out gym sneakers, your body probably isn’t getting the support it needs. Be sure that you’ve got the right kind of footwear for the exercise you’re doing, and replace your shoes as soon as they begin to wear out. They might feel comfortable, but the lack of support in the sole could be putting undue stress on your feet and joints – not to mention shoes that are falling apart can cause painful blisters.
Warm Up Right.Engaging your body’s natural flexibility will help your range of motion as you exercise – and it starts with the warm-up. “It is imperative to warm up before each workout to ensure that the muscles and surrounding tissue receive enough blood and nutrients to perform any required tasks during the actual exercises,” advises an article at Active. Go above and beyond routine stretching by doing a series of dynamic movements, including arm swings, leg swings, lunges, and squats. This will help wake up your muscles and get them primed for the workout to come.
Know Your Machines. If you’re walking into a gym, you’re probably going to be swamped with choices for exercise machines. Although it’s tempting to just hop on whichever one looks cool, if you’re not sure how to operate the machine, you could end up injuring yourself (and not even getting a good workout in the process). Always ask a staff member if they can demonstrate proper technique on an exercise machine that you’re unfamiliar with. If you are starting a new routine, a few sessions with a personal trainer may be a good idea as well.
Cool Down.Just as it’s important to get your muscles warmed up, it’s also good to cool them down when you’re done exercising. Go for a light walk on a treadmill, stretch out your legs and arms, or do some low-impact cardio to let the built-up lactic acid leave your muscles. On that same token, be sure to schedule a couple rest days for yourself throughout the week. If you’re overexerting your body, your risk for injury is high, which could put you on the sidelines for longer than expected.
Work Out Without Injury
The fear of injury shouldn’t keep you from getting in some exercise every day. If you’re equipped with the proper knowledge to warm up and cool down as well as making sure you’re using correct form while you exercise, you should be able to avoid any traumatic injury in the moment – as well as any cumulative injuries outside of your workout.
Have you ever suffered an injury while working out? How did you get through it? Tell us about it in the comments.