5 Tips to Avoid Exercise Injuries
So you’ve decided to get in shape or take up a new sport. You’re probably feeling gung ho and ready to throw your whole self into the new routine. Then it happens. You suffer an injury that puts you back on the sidelines. Call it the agony of defeat. An injury not only sets you back physically, it can also dump cold water on your motivation. Following some simple steps can help you avoid common injuries and help you on track with your fitness plans.
How to Avoid Exercise Injuries
- Gear up. Inappropriate attire, lack of proper equipment or poor fitting shoes can result in sports injuries. Make sure you have the right shoes, clothes and equipment for the sport or activity you’re engaged in.
- Stay hydrated. Dehydration makes muscles and tendons less elastic, which can result in strains, sprains or tendonitis. Drink plenty of water before, during and after exercise.
- Speak up. If you’re not sure how to properly use a piece of workout equipment, ask. We’ve all been the newbie at some point. Better to ask for help than limp away with an injury. Keep in mind that the camaraderie you can gain by talking with the fellow exercise enthusiasts or finding a workout buddy can also help spur you on.
- Ease in and out. Cold muscles and tissues are more prone to injury, so avoid jack rabbit starts. Warm up for 5-10 minutes and cool down the same way. Adding some stretching may also be beneficial.
- Pace yourself. Sometimes we get anxious for results and push ourselves too hard. Or something looks easier than it is in reality. Going too fast, exercising too frequently or trying something that’s beyond your abilities can cause an overuse injury. Conversely, those fighting tiredness may find that a regular exercise program can help you push through fatigue. The keys are consistency and gradual gains.
What to Do if You Suffer an Exercise Injury
If you do suffer exercise injuries, take a pause from your routine and see your provider. Continuing to work out with an injury will only exacerbate the problem and can cause more serious damage. Once you’re healed, you can always hit refresh and start again.
Evangelos Giakoumatos is a CHI Health MD, specialized in sports and family medicine.
I'm 70 years old. Is it better to do a few reps with a heavier load or more reps with a lighter load?