Congratulations! You’ve finally worked up the courage to start exercising. The last thing you need is to be blindsided by an injury. Here are some tips to help you prevent injuries when working out.
Before When starting a new venture, you want to make sure you have the proper tools to ensure your success. Before you start working out, consider your attire.
Clothing: Make sure your clothing does not restrict you from being able to move easily. For some of you, that means loose fitting clothing. For others, it means clothing that’s more fitting, but is able to freely stretch. Whichever you choose, make sure you have the freedom and flexibility to move.
Footwear: Invest in a good, quality athletic shoe for your workout. This will reduce foot and ankle injuries. Look for a shoe that gives you good support. According to The American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society, purchase the type of shoe depending on the activity you participate in most. For example, cross training vs. running vs. walking.
Here are a few more things to consider:
Your shoes should be comfortable as soon as you put them on. Unlike non-athletic shoes, there is no break-in period. If they hurt your feet, but them back quick, fast and in a hurry!
Try on shoes at the end of the day or after a workout! That’s when you’re feet will be largest.
Give your toes wiggle room. Make sure you can freely move your toes.
Drink plenty of water.
Water regulates your body temperature and lubricates your joints. The American Council of Sports Medicine suggests following these basic guidelines for hydration before, during and after exercise.
Drink 16-20 fluid ounces of water at least four hours before exercise.
Drink 8-12 fluid ounces of water 10-15 minutes before exercise
Drink 3-8 fluid ounces of water every 15-20 minutes when exercising for less than 60 minutes.
Do not drink more than one quart/hour during exercise
After working out, drink 20-24 fluid ounces of water for every one pound lost during your workout.
If you don’t drink enough water, you may experience muscle cramps, dizziness or other negative side effects.
Every workout should begin with a warm-up. Warming up really pumps you up and gets you ready to exercise. It improves coordination and reaction time. The warm-up reduces strain on your body and reduces the chance of injuring your ligaments, tendons and muscle by aligning your muscles and joints. It lubricates your joints for easier and less painful movement so you won’t be singing the “I’m so sore” blues after your workout.
Warming up and stretching are not the same thing. Warming up helps get the blood pumping to the muscles to prepare them for stretching. It makes the muscles more flexible.
Stretching improves your flexibility and range of motion. It reduces the risk of injury to your muscles, tendons and ligaments. Stretching should follow the warm-up, not be done in lieu of the warm-up.
Modify the exercise.
Some exercises in their original form can be challenging depending on your level of fitness. Don’t let that stop you. Simply modify the exercises so you can perform them well and without injury.
Focus in the moment.
Be present. Focus on controlling your movements and keeping your body correctly positioned. This will reduce the likelihood of you injuring yourself while working out.
Cool Down and Stretch
When it’s all said and done, don’t forget to cool down and stretch. You want to cool your body down; get your heart rate down; get your temperature down, and; get your breathing down. Stretch for a few seconds after the cool down. You want to get your muscles back to the state they were in before the workout.
Stay the course! Don’t let unnecessary injuries hinder you from getting your life back on track. Take these steps and you can workout smarter while preventing injuries.
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