If you are just getting into exercising or you are an old pro, injuries can happen at any time. It doesn’t take much to injure our joints or muscles and exercising improperly only contributes to the problem. Before you go out to do your next workout, remember these tips to ensure that you won’t be running the risk of an injury.
1. Find the right balance
Repetitive exercises will wear down your joints, especially if you are doing several sets in a row. It is important to change up your routines to avoid putting too much stress on the same joints for a long period of time. For example, if you like to run for thirty minutes, go for ten, stretch for ten, and then complete your run for the next ten minutes. If you’re at the gym, switch machines for a few minutes before going back to your favorite one. This can really help you avoid injury.
2. Make sure you are using proper form
One of the best ways to injure yourself while exercising is to do the exercises wrong. Make sure that you know what the proper form looks like and frequently check yourself to make sure you are doing it the right way. For example, your knees should always be aligned with your feet, your torso should be straight and your neck should not be bent forward. Finding the right form will actually improve the effectiveness of your workout. If you’re not sure if you are doing an exercise correctly, you may want to ask a trainer to give you a few tips, or take one lesson with them to see what you need to change. Also be sure to wear proper clothing!
3. Take a break
It sounds simple, but it is important to schedule brief breaks during your workout, especially if you are really going at. Allow a few minutes in between exercises to get your strength back and allow your muscles to relax. However, don’t wait too long, or you’ll need to stretch again to warm your muscles back up. Just a breather here and there can make a big difference in preventing injuries.
4. Follow the 10% rule.
Once you start working out and seeing results, it is very tempting to keep amping up your workouts. However, you need to give your body time to adjust to all of this new activity. Don’t go from 30 minute workouts one day to 45 minute workouts the next. Instead, use the 10% rule and add 3 minutes a day until you get up to your desired length. If you are strength trainging and looking to max out, increase your weights by 10% each week untill you hit your new Personal Best. This helps your body get accustomed to the new level of activity and your muscles will thank you. While many of us have been trained to “feel the burn” and accept pain, sports injuries are no laughing matter. Listen to your body – if it feels wrong or you are in pain, you need to stop immediately. There is a difference between working your muscles and overworking them and it is vital to be able to tell the difference.