Avoid these common workout injuries
If you work out regularly, sooner or later you are likely to experience an injury. The most common exercise injuries include shin splints, knee injuries, sprained ankles and pulled muscles. These can happen to anyone, professional athletes, weekend warriors and couch potatoes alike. Use these tips to reduce your risk, and when you are injured, feel better faster.
Remember to warm up
Warm muscles are less prone to injury. Prepare yours for work with gentle movements such as walking before you run or swimming at a slow pace before your speedier laps. Your warm-up should be for at least the first 5 minutes of your 30-minute workout.
Don’t forget to cool down
Start slow, go strong and end slow. Follow your sprints with a few minutes of walking to cool down after a run. Don’t skip the cool down phase on the elliptical or treadmill. After, take time to stretch or use a foam roller to ease recovery.
Use proper form
Injuries are often caused by poor form. If you are new to exercise, learn proper form before you add heavier weight or greater distance. If you have been exercising for a while, avoid pushing yourself past the point of exhaustion. When you are too tired your form will suffer, and injury will result.
Invest in the right gear
Supportive shoes, knee or wrist braces, helmets and the like help protect you from injury. Try different brands to find the right protection for you and use it every time.
Cross-training ensures you get the variety you need to avoid overuse injuries. You’ll also add some interest to your routine. There is a whole world of exercise out there, don’t just stick to one thing. Try everything that interests you.
Check with your healthcare professional
Especially if you have never exercised before, are older or have been ill, check with your healthcare provider to get the green light before you start any fitness regimen.
Don’t skip rest days
Rest days are just as important as exercise days. During your days off muscle tissue does the work of rebuilding and repairing itself. If you skip rest days, you are more likely to become injured and/or burnout.
If you do become injured. Remember RICE –
Rest, Ice (an ice bag or frozen veggies will do, alternate a few minutes on and a few minutes off), Compression (wrap to minimize swelling) and Elevation (prop up the injured area if possible).
You’ll also reduce your risk of injury if you get adequate sleep and pay attention to your body. It seems obvious but is worth saying – stop if you feel pain. If you are injured, take care of yourself and as soon as you are able, ease back into your routine. You may even try yoga as you recover. Don’t use injury as an excuse to give up. Get back in the game as soon as you can.