Did you know that over 8 million people are injured while being physically active every year? Make no mistake about it, getting active and breaking any sedentary habits you may have are vital for a healthy lifestyle. However, it’s important to take certain precautions in order to avoid injuring yourself while pursuing health.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by this idea, don’t worry, you’re not alone! In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about approaching exercise in the correct way. By using these tips, you’ll drastically lower your risk of injury as you progress through your fitness journey.
Now then, let’s get started!
1. Take Time to Warm-Up and Cool-Down
You may feel ready to jump right into your workout, but your body is not. It needs a little bit of time to ease into and out of activity, which is where a warm-up and cool-down period comes in!
Before every touching a weight, you need to loosen your body and essentially let it know that it’s time to exercise. Good warm-up and cool-down activities include a quick spin on an exercise bike, a brisk walk, and plenty of stretching.
2. Stretching is Essential
The importance of stretching cannot be overstated. Flexibility is a key ingredient of a healthy, active lifestyle and must be maintained in order to keep injuries such as myalgia and tendinitis at bay.
Make stretching part of your warm-up and cool-down routine, ensuring that you’re giving every part of your body attention as you go. And don’t rush! A good stretching regimen involves 15-30 seconds per muscle.
3. Keep Your Body Hydrated
Your body is made up of 60% water. Keep this in mind every day, not just when you’re working out. Drinking more water is linked to all sorts of health benefits and is crucial with exercise.
Not sure how much water is best? Drink a full glass before working out, a glass every 10 to 20 minutes while you’re working out, and another glass when you’re done.
4. Don’t Neglect Nutrition
If you’re trying to change your physique, you may be tempted to undereat in order to achieve faster results. But if you want to avoid injury, do not do this. Your body needs to fuel to improve and stay healthy, and it’s your responsibility to provide it!
The keyword here, however, is fuel. You shouldn’t eat just anything! A balanced diet full of protein and healthy carbs is the perfect companion to a good exercise routine.
5. Use Proper Technique
Technique is one of the most important things to keep in mind when exercising. Without proper technique, your workout will not only be ineffective, but you’ll also be much more likely to hurt yourself.
For example, focus on good posture in both strength training and cardio exercise. Keep your shoulders back and your back straight at all times. Use your muscles, not momentum, when lifting and make sure your knees are behind your toes when doing squats or lunges.
6. Mix Up Your Routine
Frequent exercise, at least a few days a week, is ideal. But you shouldn’t be doing the exact same thing in the gym every single time. Varying your routine will improve your performance and help you steer clear of injury.
Mixing it up doesn’t have to be overwhelming, either. If you focus on your arms on Monday, do legs on Wednesday! Also, try cross-training, where you use different exercises to work the same muscle or improve the same skill.
7. Don’t Do Too Much Too Fast
If you’re excited about breaking into fitness, that’s great! Excitement and motivation are both indicators that you’re ready for the hard work that lies ahead. However, you need to be responsible and realistic with your routine.
Start slowly and build on your frequency, intensity, and duration, over time. Depending on your fitness level, you may only be able to work out in 15-minute increments and that’s okay!
Everyone has to start somewhere. As you become more fit, your abilities will increase naturally.
8. Listen to Your Body
Pushing through hurdles is necessary for growth, but you can absolutely push yourself too hard. That’s why it’s important to listen to your body, meaning if you’re in pain, you should stop your workout.
It’s okay to be sore, it’s okay to struggle at times, but if your body is sending you signals that it may be injured or approaching injury, it’s time for a break.
9. Rest, Rest, Rest
It may sound counterproductive, but you shouldn’t be exercising every single day, especially when you’re just starting out. In fact, the only people who should be participating in intense exercise 7 days a week are Olympic or professional athletes.
Start by exercising 3 days a week and work your way up from there, but stop at 5 or 6. It’s important to give your body a chance to rest and recover between workouts, both for optimal results and preventing injury.
10. Use a Trainer or Experienced Partner
Last but not least, don’t be afraid to ask for help! No one becomes an expert overnight. If you have a friend or family member who knows their way around the gym, ask them to show you the ropes!
And if you’re going into your new lifestyle solo, seek the help of a personal trainer. It’s their job to teach newcomers good exercise habits and techniques. And if you find a trainer you really gel with, they can help to push you further in your fitness even after you have a bit of experience.
How to Exercise Without Injuring Yourself
Well, there you have it! As you can see, the steps you need to take to avoid injuring yourself aren’t all that complex.
Above all else, make sure that you’re taking care of yourself before, during, and after your workout routine. Obtaining optimal fitness and health should be approached as a lifestyle, not a hobby.
Give your body the best care possible and, especially if you’re not sure where to start in the gym, consider hiring a personal trainer or asking an experienced friend to tag along.
And remember, there’s a fine line between pushing yourself and harming yourself. To get results, you’ll need to push your limits, but be careful not to overdo it. If you’re a little sore, great! If you’re in serious pain, stop what you’re doing and rest or seek medical attention if you need it.
Looking for more tips on taking your health to the next level? Check out our blog!