Jun 23, 2014 | Exercise

Exercise injuries happen to everyone from beginners to professional athletes. A surprising fact to most, preventing exercise injuries has more to do with how you exercise rather than how well you exercise. The following suggestions can help you get the most out of your physical activity, free of pain, injury, and incident.

Warm Up and Cool Down

Jumping right into a high intensity exercise will shock your muscles. It’s important to take a few minutes to loosen up and slowly build up the pace and intensity of your workout. Incorporate some stretching and light movement for five to ten minutes at the beginning of your main routine. Similarly, spend several minutes slowing down near the end of your physical activity instead of abruptly stopping. The warm up and cool down are some of the most vital pieces of a healthy workout.

Vary Your Workouts

It can be easy to fall into a routine when it comes to working out, but refrain from performing the same exercises every day. Exercising only one muscle group will cause fatigue and prevent you from building strength. Instead, try alternating the muscles you utilize each time you hit the gym. Perhaps you can designate specific days for arms, legs, and/or core building exercises. In addition to being better for your body, it will also prevent you from becoming burnt out or bored by your workouts!

Dress for the Occasion

You don’t have to own expensive workout gear, but you do want to wear breathable clothes that allow for a wide range of movement. Find appropriate athletic shoes with proper arch support as well, especially if your workout requires you to be on your feet a lot. If you need splints or wrist guards to protect your joints, ask your doctor if he or she would recommend you wear them during exercise too.

Remember Proper Nutrition and Hydration

Food and water are your body’s fuel. Without adequate nourishment, your body is like a car running on empty. To ensure you have efficient energy to exercise, have something to eat a few hours beforehand and always bring a water bottle with you to stay hydrated throughout physical activity. You lose hydration when you sweat, so it’s essential that you re-hydrate your body after workouts.

Rest Your Muscles

Set aside at least one or two days a week to take a rest from working out. Your muscles need down time to repair themselves and build strength. Continuously exerting your body will cause fatigue and weakness, which can then lead to injury or stress fractures. You’ll actually build endurance quicker if you take days to rest.

Listen to Your Body

Most injuries come with warning signs. If you begin to experience pain while exercising, do not push through the pain. There is a difference between an exercise being difficult and it being physically painful. Feeling sore the day after exercising is usually normal; it means you exerted yourself and gave your muscles a good challenge. However, sharp, throbbing pain or ongoing soreness can be a sign of injury. Many people who end up with serious injuries say they could tell something wasn’t right when they were working out, but they continued to exercise over the pain. When your body tries to tell you something, take the time to listen–it could be the very thing that prevents an injury!

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