Working out to get in shape or stay in shape? That’s great! Your body will start feeling better, and so will your mind.
Just be careful!
Doing exercises incorrectly or not warming up properly can keep you out of action for weeks, maybe months.
If you haven’t worked out for a while, or you’re trying new exercises, then you need to be especially cautious. For instance, if you decided to start jogging but haven’t done it for a long time, don’t just go out and run ten miles the first day.
Your body needs to get the muscle groups for that activity back into shape. Some very common injuries which can occur include:
- Muscle pulls
- Sprained ankles
- Knee strains
- Shin splints
It’s fun to start a new activity and to feel like you’re starting to get yourself into better shape. But here are some tips to avoid injuries and keep you off the sidelines.
As much as we want to work out, we always feel like we’re trying to squeeze that time into our busy schedules. With time being a big constraint, it’s easy to skip warming up and jump right into the activity.
Warming up is crucial to any successful exercise or fitness program. This actually warms up your muscles by circulating blood throughout the body.
These small, non-strenuous movements make your muscles more flexible and prepared for the activity to come. They increase your range of motion which will improve your performance.
Walking in place with high knee lifts are excellent. So are making circles with your outstretched arms. These movements will also start to increase the heart rate which is good preparation for your full workout.
If you ask most people, they will probably tell you that you should stretch before you start your workout. However, studies have shown that stretching pre-workout can actually reduce performance.
The best time to stretch is right after you exercise. Your muscles are warm. Joints and ligaments are more flexible.
Stretches can also help you feel less sore the following day. This will allow to maintain your exercise regimen. The more you stick to this routine, the better and stronger you’ll feel.
This leads us into our next way to avoid injuries when working out. Consistency!
By performing your exercise routines three to four times per week, you are training your body. Those muscle groups now expect that workout. Your tendons and ligaments will also gradually strengthen.
Finding the time to work out is always one of the biggest excuses. If you push yourself hard on the weekends because that’s the only time you have, your risk of injury greatly increases. You are taxing your body for two days and then resting for five.
Make the time! Fit those workouts into your schedule. Your body and your mind will be glad you did.
Just because you were really into working out 10 or 20 years ago, doesn’t mean that you jump right back into that old routine. The techniques you used back then may have been great for your younger self.
Times have changed. You have changed.
Some exercises that were thought to be good for you back then might not be effective now. Or the proper way to perform them might be different. Perhaps the guidelines and techniques for a 30-year old aren’t the same for a 50-year old.
Be realistic about who you are today. Don’t focus on what you used to do, or your body will quickly remind you that you’re not as young as you used to be!
If you’re unsure about the proper methods, seeking the advice of a personal trainer or a physical therapist is a wise idea. You can learn vital safety tips and the best way to safely start and increase your exercise regimen.
Rest and Recovery
Listening to your body is vital! Pushing through pain can easily lead to injuries.
If your knee is aching the day after a jog, skip a day. Maybe ice and elevate for faster recovery. Did you remember to warmup before and stretch after your workout?
Getting yourself into a new workout routine takes time. Rest and recovery should be part of your routine. As your body acclimates to these exercises, you will have less soreness the day after you train.
While some pain or discomfort is common when adding new exercises to your workout, these should fade in a couple of days. Taking the steps mentioned here will help to ensure that you limit your chances for injury. We are always here if you have any questions or concerns.