Avoid injury when exercising
Posted by Caitlin Norton
No exercise routine guarantees you will avoid injury; but, there are techniques that will reduce your chances of straining or injuring muscles, tendon, ligaments and bones during exercise. If you experience sharp or persistent pain during exercise, stop immediately and always speak with your doctor about any medical issues before implementing an exercise regimen.
Suit up properly for your workout. Wear lightweight clothing that wicks moisture away from your skin when you sweat. Choose shoes that fit well, have firm ankle support and contain gel or pads in the sole to absorb shock. Refrain from wearing racing shoes during workouts. Their light construction may not support your feet well during prolonged and regular workouts. If you don’t know what type of shoes to get, go to your local sporting goods store where they can determine the right shoes for your feet based on the type of exercise you will be doing.
Warm up for 10 minutes or longer before exercising. Rather than stretch stiff muscles and tight joints, do light aerobic activity like walking or marching. You pump oxygen through your bloodstream which circulates to your muscles. As you feel warmer, do gentle joint rotations and stretches.
Workout with others. Start up slowly, and join a running club with experienced coaches, or find an experienced friend to help you. People tend to start out on their own, but running with others who know how to run gives you the opportunity to ask questions and imitate good habits.
Engage your core muscles during exercise. Inhale fully and contract your stomach area. Exhale, but hold the tension in your abdominal muscles. Good posture and a tightened core improve your coordination, balance and control of your limbs during exercise, reducing your chances of falling.
Opt for lower-impact exercises that effectively elevate your heart rate. Rather than running on a hard surface, speed-walk on grass or jog through water. Instead of aerobic dance, do belly dancing. Other cardiovascular workouts that reduce shock to your joints and muscles include swimming laps, aqua aerobics, using a stationary rower, climbing stairs, using an elliptical trainer, power yoga and sun salutations.
Complement your aerobic workouts with resistance training. Doing calisthenics and workouts such as pushups, pilates, yoga poses, pullups, squats, lunges, plyometrics, functional strength training and triceps dips targets your major muscle groups and builds bone and muscle density, protecting you from injury.
Giving your body time to recover. When exercising, you strain your body and induce numerous small “damages” to your body. This is actually a good thing – when your body repairs and recovers, it rebuilds the damaged parts to be slightly stronger than before. That’s how your physical condition improves. But don’t overdo it! “No pain, no gain” is not the right mantra when you start exercising.
The most important thing to remember is to listen to your body. Exercising can be – and should be – a lot of fun. Don’t push yourself more than what your body can deliver. If you have aches other than ordinary muscle pain after exercise, you should make an appointment to see your doctor. If you try to “push through the pain” you’ll just damage yourself. Have fun and enjoy yourself!