Posted on June 25 2018
Nothing can stop me when I get that runner’s high or feeling like I can conquer the world after lifting some weights. That is, unless it is a workout related injury. When I first started my journey, I did a number of them on myself. Most workout related injuries are due to incorrect form or over-doing it. Both of these are very easy to do when you are just learning to listen to your body and when you are learning new equipment or fitness moves. While I am not a professional fitness trainer, I have learned some things over the years that could have prevented me from seeing an injury. Here are some of my tips on how to avoid workout related injuries.
If you are unsure about something, Ask!- Most gyms have a policy that they will help you learn how to use any of their pieces of equipment if you just ask so make sure you take advantage of that. You can also hire a personal trainer for a few sessions just to have them help you get familiar with the equipment you have questions on. Another way to get advice is to watch YouTube videos made by personal trainers.
Make sure you drink enough water and stay hydrated- I can’t even tell you how many times I made the mistake of not drinking enough water. I still occasionally do it when I go for a hike or something and I’m caught up in the moment. This almost never ends well for me and I wake up with an excruciating charley horse in the middle of the night that hurts for several days after, causing me to have to take a break from my activities. Not drinking enough water can lead to other issues such as heat stroke, too. Make sure to drink water before, after and during any fitness activity, even if you don’t feel like you sweated that much.
Wear fitness attire when you workout- Did you know that not wearing proper clothing when working out can actually cause you injury? It’s true! Not wearing breathable, wicking material can easily lead to overheating and skin irritations. You can even take it a step further and choose compression gear that can help avoid workout related pain due to it helping with blood flow. You should also keep an eye out on your shoes; make sure they are in good shape and replace them when needed.
Don’t just stick with cardio- Many people feel like cardio activities are enough, but strength training can actually improve your workout and help you avoid injury as well. If you build your muscles’ strength, it will help you be more stable and balanced. This allows you to hold positions the proper way much more effectively and comfortably.
Make sure to warm up and cool down as well as stretch- Warming up and cooling down are essential to keeping your body happy and avoiding injuries because they get you muscles ready for a workout. Stretching helps in the same way to ready your joints and muscles, allowing you to have more flexibility.
Don’t go too hard- It’s easy to try to go full blast when you are excited to get fit. This can lead to doing too much, too soon. Take it slow. Think about a fitness journey as a marathon rather than a sprint.
Listen to your body and stop to rest when you need to- The most important thing to do to prevent workout related injury is to listen to what your body is telling you. If something doesn’t feel right, stop doing it. If you find yourself getting tired, take a rest or quit for the day. Never push yourself too far if it hurts too much. Not only are you possibly injuring yourself, but it could also be an indicator that you aren't holding a proper form and you may need to readjust.