Setting up and sticking to a workout regime is hard enough, so the last thing you need is to pick up an injury that will interrupt your plans and prevent you from hitting your fitness goals.
As any coach will tell you, one of the most fundamental rules of working out is to make sure that you exercise safely, protecting your body at the same time as you push it to the limits. How can you do this? We’ve put together a few hints and tips that should help you minimize your injury risk.
Take advice from a personal trainer
Getting advice can often be a good way to start and to keep yourself safe. A good trainer or coach will be able to help you structure your workouts in such a way that you can progress and improve without putting your wellbeing at risk. Even if you don’t want to go to the expense of getting expert in-person advice, there are plenty of online resources provided by professional coaches and trainers that can help you avoid making the mistakes that could put your health at risk.
Don’t forget about warming up
If there’s one piece of advice that coaches will always give you, it is to never neglect the warm-up. Working out with muscles that are not warm enough will always expose you to risk of injury, and by warming up properly, you will not only raise your body temperature and increase blood flow to the muscles, but you will also help to get yourself ready for the workout. Also, don’t neglect the post-workout stretch, as this can help to reduce the risk of stiffness and minor muscle injuries.
Wear the right clothes
This is one area that many people neglect. If it’s been a while since you last bought a pair of running shoes, for example, then it is a good idea to go to the store. Ideally, you want to speak to an expert or go to a specialist training clothes store so that they can find the right shoes and other exercise clothing, whether that is a men’s compression shirt or a pair of women’s training leggings. So many workout injuries are caused by people wearing ill-fitting or inappropriate clothing, so it is a good idea to invest a little time and money into getting exactly the right gear.
Another important aspect of getting your workout right is to make sure that you are cross-training adequately. This means ensuring that your routine covers a range of activities. This will not only help to prevent you from hitting a plateau with your workout progress, but will also give your muscles a break from performing the same activity too often, which can lead to strains and sprains.
Get your diet right
Eating a balanced diet and ensuring that you are fully hydrated is one of the most important parts of any workout regime. Your body needs sufficient carbohydrates to give you enough energy for your next workout, and to replenish your body’s glycogen stores as part of your recovery. Lean protein is also vital as it helps to repair the muscles that are worked on during an intense workout. A sports nutritionist will be able to provide you with a tailored diet plan, but there are also numerous online resources that can help. A balanced diet will ensure that your body is in the best shape not only to undertake a rigorous workout, but also to recover fully afterwards.
Strength and core training
Strength and core work should also be an integral part of your routine. If your exercise is built on a strong core, then you will be better balanced throughout your workout and you won’t be placing too much strain on one particular area. You will also be stronger in general and able to recover from an intense workout more quickly, which will also reduce your injury risk.
Get enough rest
Getting fit is a long-term endeavor, and along the way, you will need to take regular rest. If your exercise program doesn’t include regular rest periods, then you need to change it. Your body will also tell you from time to time that you need to rest, perhaps with a few additional aches or pains or with an overall feeling of tiredness. Don’t ignore these signs. Get rest and recharge or you’ll put yourself at risk of picking up an injury, which could lead to a frustrating period of not being able to exercise.
Too many people approach working out as though they are punishing themselves, but you can’t force your body into shape. By taking care of your overall health and exercising in a balanced, controlled way, you will make the quickest progress towards your health and fitness goals.