Preventing Injuries During a Workout
Many times, people start a workout or exercise routine with high hopes and enthusiasm, only to be sidelined before making progress due to a fitness-related injury. In fact, this is one of the biggest reasons that people fail to maintain a fit and active lifestyle, but with some simple precautions and shift in mindset, it can all be avoided.
Something overlooked by far too many beginners is the importance of a good warmup. It is critical to warm up the muscles you’ll be exercising beforehand in order to get blood flowing to the surrounding tissues. Skipping a warmup can result in muscle tears that take time to heal. An easy way to prepare your body is to do 10 minutes of light cardio before working out to get your circulation going.
Stretching Pre- and Post-Workout
Stretching after warming up helps increase flexibility, allowing you to perform your workout routine more effectively while minimizing the risk of injury. Be careful though, as poor form while stretching can cause ligament tears. Be sure to stretch after your workout as well. This is often overlooked, but it is every bit as important as your pre-workout stretch.
Trying to work out while dehydrated is one of the worst things you can do to your body. You will feel weak, fatigued, your muscles will cramp, and before you know it your body will shut down. This often results in some form of injury, as your body can collapse with little warning when it doesn’t have the fuel it needs to operate.
Nutrition is the other half of the equation for fueling your body. Though burning fat is a primary objective for many people just beginning to work out, you need to fuel your body appropriately and maintain glycogen stores for your muscles to use as fuel during your workouts. A muscle failure during a workout will lead to painful tears that take a long time to heal. Additionally, you need to be sure to feed your body sufficient protein post-workout to begin repairing muscle fiber damage inflicted during your workout. Maintaining an appropriate diet will not only keep you from injuring yourself, but will help you see the muscle and physique gains you’re looking for.
What you do while you’re outside of the gym is just as important as what you do while you’re in the gym, and giving your body adequate time to rest and recover is critical to avoiding injury and making gains. Take at least one day off from training each week to rest, and listen to your body. If you feel extremely sore, exhausted, or are feeling intense discomfort, avoid training and consult with a physician before resuming.
Your body is an amazing machine, but it requires diligent maintenance to perform its best. Proper nutrition, stretching, hydration, and rest will help ensure that your active lifestyle is something you can maintain for a long time to come.
If you’re experiencing fitness-related pain or suffer from another orthopaedic condition, request an appointment online or call (904) 825-0540 to meet with one of our sports medicine physicians. Following diagnosis and treatment of your condition, our physicians may refer you to our skilled physical and occupational therapists.
CASEY McCLONE, MD
Board Certifications in Family Medicine and Sports Medicine. Dr. McClone specializes in treating musculoskeletal pain for patients of all ages with ultra-sound guided injections.