Injuries occurring while training or working out are common, and can lead to long term physical problems that are never quite overcome. For example, back injuries. Below are seven tips to help you train and be kind to your body.
- Warm Up
Starting your workout with a warm up is vital before any strenuous physical exertion. Warming up helps your muscles and surrounding fibers to receive enough blood and nutrients to be able to perform better.
Missing the warm up can lead to muscle strains and tears that take time to heal. A useful way to start your routine is to spend a gentle ten minutes on a cross trainer or elliptical machine, which are obviously more available at the gym. Alternatively, you could begin with a walk, slowly building the intensity, to get your heart rate up and increase blood flow.
Stretching your muscles before and after your workout can significantly reduce the chances of injury. Light stretching after your warm up, but before your main workout, enables your body to become more flexible, meaning that is far more able to cope with a training regime. However, research has shown that a pre workout routine that involves too much stretching can use up too much energy and lead to overuse of muscles, so keep it light.
Other research has shown that the post workout stretching routine can be more beneficial. After a workout, lactic acid can build up in muscles, leading to soreness and fatigue. Stretching post workout can help reduce the build-up of lactic acid, helping to reduce muscle soreness and the injuries that can be caused by it.
- Start slowly
Building the intensity of your workouts, especially when trying to gain or regain fitness can be another way to avoid injury. Start with a shorter, less intense regime and build it up over a course of days or weeks. This will help avoid over exertion and the injuries that can occur.
Letting your body rest after exercise is just as important as anything else is, helping your muscles rebuild and recover. You should have at least one day off a week from training, allowing your body to recharge its batteries. Furthermore, if you experience any significant strains or pains, then a longer rest is required to bring about recovery.
- Listen to your body
Along the same lines as resting after exercise is knowing your body and the signals it gives out. Slight strains and signs of exhaustion are your body’s way of telling you that you are overdoing it. Learning to heed these signs and react to them is key to avoiding injury. If necessary, consult a physician.
- Wear the right clothing
Picking an outfit that suits your needs can help reduce the risk of injury. Using clothing that is training specific is key. For instance, the correct footwear will help support your feet during a run, helping you to prevent injury.
Another example would be using appropriate thermal running gear when jogging in cold conditions. This would help you retain the heat in your muscles and prevent muscle strains.
Being aware of your diet is also key to preventing injury. Food and drink act as fuel for your body and keep it hydrated. A drop in glycogen levels post workout, when your muscles have started to deplete your body’s natural glycogen, can lead to muscle tears and lethargy. Your body can be helped to repair itself by the intake of carbohydrate and protein.
Although there are numerous powders and supplements available for a pre and post workout boost, a more natural way of obtaining the nutrients you need is milk; an excellent source of post workout proteins and carbohydrate. This enables your body to restore and repair itself.