Even when you’re careful, an injury is a very real risk of fitness and exercise. That’s why I decided to research ways to protect myself. And you know I can’t keep all this knowledge to myself, so I put all my findings together for you. Arming yourself with this information can help you avoid issues like tendinitis, pulling a muscle, spraining a ligament or shin splints.
The first things to remember is to always warm up at the start of a workout and to cool down after. Warming up will cause extra blood to flow to your muscles by slowly increasing your heart rate. This is not only good for your heart, it also helps protect your muscles. Cooling down has the reverse effect on the body. It lets the heart slow down at a steady rate. As I said in a previous post, stretching is an invaluable part of any fitness routine. Stretching makes the muscles more flexible and opens up the joints. This protects the muscles and joints. Add a little stretching to your warm up and cool down routines. Also, check out my stretching post for more tips.
Another way to protect yourself from injury while working out is to practice cross-training. What is cross training, you ask? Well, it is a form of training where athletes train in more than one sport to improve his or her performance in their sport of focus. This can be applied to the everyday fitness lover by being sure to exercise a different muscle group each day. So don’t go having leg day, after leg day, after leg day. Try having leg day, then back day, then abs day. This allows for the muscles of each muscle group to get a break and not get overworked. That brings me to my fourth point: rest or recovery days. I get it. You love working out, but that doesn’t change the fact that it isn’t healthy to not allow the body to rest. Rest days are as important as the days where you exercise. When you workout you tear your muscles and when you rest the muscles get a chance to heal. The healing process is when you’ll see your muscle growth. So, if you want those gains you better take those recovery days.
Last but not least, listen to your body. If something you’re doing during a workout is extremely painful or just feels funky. Stop doing it! Your body is on your side, so listen when it tells you something isn’t right. Also, if you’re sick or really tired, have a rest. It’s okay. Fitness is a lifestyle and that means it isn’t going anywhere. Do you really want to risk an injury and have to put your fitness journey on hold for days, weeks, or months? Be careful, be smart, and protect yourself.
Come back soon because I’ll teach you about common sports injuries and how to treat them. See you then!