7 Things You Can Do to Avoid Injury When Exercising

Health professionals recommend that each of us participate in at least 2½ hours of moderate aerobic activity each week, or 1¼ hours of vigorous activity, to help prevent weight gain and keep us fit and healthy. Regular exercise has numerous well-reported health benefits. Nevertheless, with any type of physical activity, there is always the possibility of sustaining injury, which could range from sprains and strains to a debilitating back spasm. With a little planning, however, you could reduce your risk of getting hurt.

1. Be Smart about Training

It is crucial to warm up properly before you start exercising. Equally, it is important to cool down afterwards, too.

Not having proper form when exercising places you at significant risk, as does using equipment incorrectly. An integral part of any training plan is pushing yourself a little harder and further every time to build strength and stamina. However, if you push your body too hard too soon, you put yourself at risk of serious injury, potentially setting you back for months.

2. Invest in the Right Workout Attire

If you cannot remember when you bought those running shoes, then it is probably time to invest in some new ones. Worn-out shoes with inadequate support are the cause of many injuries. It is prudent to visit a specialty store and seek out expert advice to help you find the perfect pair of shoes for you, taking into account your gait, arch, and body weight rather than simply relying on luck.

Depending on your chosen sport, you may need to invest in a variety of safety equipment in addition to quality footwear, such as googles, mouth guards, shin guards, knee pads, or a helmet to keep you safe. It is important not to scrimp on such equipment and to purchase new equipment made by a reputable manufacturer.

3. Get a Routine Physical

Before embarking on a new fitness regime, it is a good idea to visit your doctor for a fitness test. Any new physical activity can place your body under stress, particularly your cardiovascular system and joints. A treadmill test could help you determine any limitations, enabling you to tailor your exercise routine accordingly.

If you have not been active for some time, or have a health condition, you should speak with your health provider to help you find an appropriate type of exercise for you. If you are new to exercise, it may be prudent to avoid high-impact activities like aerobics or running, and instead opting for gentler alternatives like swimming or walking.

4. Hire a Coach or Personal Trainer

A professional can help you achieve the perfect form when you work out and help to avoid placing your body under unnecessary strain, and optimize the impact of your exercise routine. They can also provide safety tips, helping you accomplish your fitness goals without hurting yourself.

A personal trainer will help you structure your fitness plan based on your individual goals, be that weight loss, aerobic fitness, or muscle building. They can help you avoid bad habits that even some of the best athletes fall foul of. A few hour-long sessions may be sufficient.

5. Avoid Working Out Hungry

It is not a very good idea to a consume a huge meal immediately before exercising. However, arriving to the gym already hungry is going to impede your ability to work up a sweat. Eating a light meal like a baked potato, bagels, or pasta two hours before you arrive will provide you with the energy you need to complete your routine, while fresh fruit like apples, bananas, grapes, or peaches could give you with a useful burst of energy an hour before you work out.

It is important to stay hydrated throughout your workout, drink plenty of water in the hours preceding exercise, and take occasional sips throughout to maintain your fluid levels.

6. Listen to Your Body

To build strength and muscle requires you to push your body. However, the key to achieving lasting results is to push yourself slowly and gradually. The old adage “no pain, no gain” trips many people up. While you can expect sore muscles post-workout, exercising should not be painful. If you feel pain during your routine, you must stop straight away.

7. Take Rest Days

Rest days are vital to alleviate muscle pain and soreness, to repair and build muscle, and replenish the body’s energy stores. Signs that you are due a rest day include persistent muscle soreness, feelings of sluggishness post-workout, increased incidence of illness and injury, and changes in behavior such as insomnia and mood swings.

Every exercise regimen should incorporate rest days, with at least one every seven to 10 days. When you start to see real results, it can be tempting to skip rest days, but it is important to understand that this will not help you reach your fitness goals any faster. In fact, it could result in a significant setback.

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Douglas Healy is a Springfield, Missouri-based attorney with nearly 20 years of legal experience.

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Douglas Healy

Douglas Healy

Douglas Healy is a Springfield, Missouri-based attorney with nearly 20 years of legal experience.

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