Sport and exercise injuries are common among athletes. Most gym enthusiasts experience knee and back pain, muscle strains, bruising, or cuts. Common causes include poor posture, bad lifting technique, dehydration, and overtraining. Incorrect form can rip, pull, or wrench your muscles in an instant. The good news is that most workout injuries can be prevented. The key is to listen to your body, use the right equipment, and learn proper lifting form.
Here are some simple tips to avoid getting injured during exercise:
Warm Up Properly
Always warm up before exercise. This ensures that all major joints have full range of motion. A basic warm up routine can help prevent injuries, reduce muscle stiffness, and lower the risk of strains and pulls. Stretch your body properly for at least 10 minutes. Focus on the muscle groups you’re planning to work that day. For example, if you’re going to train your shoulders, do three or four sets of arm circles, 20 to 30 push-ups, and two sets of side lateral raises. Use light weights and compete lots of reps to get your blood flowing to the targeted areas.
Know Your Body
It’s important to know how your body reacts to different exercises and moves. For instance, some people can not do burpees or jumping jacks because they lack flexibility. Some experience severe knee pain when squatting with heavy weights. Others are unable to do deadlifts because this exercise makes their back pain worse. You also need to learn the difference between an ache or pain and an injury.
Build Up Gradually
Most newbies get injured because they either use bad form or overtrain their muscles. The old saying “less is more” applies to fitness too. Spending two hours in the gym and doing hundreds of reps can do more harm than good. If you want to prevent injuries, focus on building your strength and endurance. Don’t try complex routines or fancy exercises, such as BOSU ball squats or jump squats. These moves require a lot of balance and stability, so the risk of injury is higher.
In the first few weeks of training, complete full body circuits and build up your fitness. Try to identify the weakest areas of your body and then adjust your workouts accordingly. For example, if you have poor posture, do exercises that help strengthen your back muscles. Newbies should focus on building a strong, stable core and complete workouts that improve balance and strengthen the major muscle groups. As you progress, incorporate new moves into your fitness routine.
If you’re serious about working out, learn the correct body alignment and technique. Using proper form can lower the risk of injury and speed up your progress. In general, women function better in activities that require multiple or diagonal planes of motion, such as spinning, yoga, TRX, and Pilates. Men do better at activities involving a rigid plan of motion, like push-ups or heavy lifting. ACL) injuries are most likely to affect women than men, which is why ladies should avoid activities requiring quick leg motions that put pressure on the joints.
Leave Your Ego at the Door
No matter how much you want to impress your friends, avoid using too much weight or doing advanced exercises that you’re not ready for. An out-of-control dumbbell or barbell can lead to serious injuries, muscle tears, bicep tendon rupture, joint dislocations, and hernia.
Hire a Personal Trainer
Personal trainers have the skills and knowledge needed to help you lose weight, build muscle, or improve your fitness. Hiring a pro is one of the best investments you can do, especially if you’re a newbie. A trainer will show you what exercises are right for your body, how to use proper form, and which moves to avoid. He will also design a workout routine that meets your individual needs. A professional can monitor your progress, give you advice, and keep you motivated along the way. Getting expert advice will help you prevent injuries and build your dream body.
Overtraining affects your body’s ability to recover, saps energy, and slows down your progress. Don’t be one of those people who go to the gym and use every machine in sight. Train one or two muscle groups at a time, and do 20 to 40 minutes of cardio afterwards. If you’re in a good shape, complete two or three HIIT sessions per week. Complete up to four exercises for every muscle group and keep your workouts varied.
Get Enough Rest
Your body needs time to recover between exercise sessions. Unless you’re a fitness model or a pro athlete, it doesn’t make sense to work out seven days a week. Active recovery is great, but this doesn’t mean you should train your muscle to failure or do hours of cardio every day. Working out four to five times a week is more than enough for most people.