You may go into your exercise with good intentions of building a healthy lifestyle and maintaining overall health. Unfortunately, reality doesn’t always meet expectations. Without applying key exercise fundamentals that support safety, you may unintentionally do the opposite.
Whether you’re an Olympic athlete or exercising at home in your living room, it’s important to always put your safety first with any type of physical activity. Always get your doctor’s approval before trying any new exercise and follow guidelines based on sports medicine techniques to help prevent injuries such as ankle sprains and much more.1
Continue reading to discover top safety tips for working out and give yourself the best possible chance of avoiding an injury.
Establish A Physical Baseline
Being aware of your body and physical limitations, and understanding your current physical fitness level by establishing a baseline, will help set the tone of where you currently stand and where you’d like to be. There is a reason why athletic trainers structure their initial client appointments around gathering an assessment to measure fitness abilities. Creating this baseline helps to promote a healthy and sustainable growth pattern, not over-exerting too much too soon. Listen to your body and know your limitations. Make sure to always designate days to rest and recovery.
Consulting with your healthcare provider before starting any type of exercise program.2
Know What To Wear
The clothes and shoes you wear can make a big impact on your overall performance and can go a long way towards preventing injury. It’s important to be aware of your workout environment and take into account factors such as terrain, sun exposure, heat index, overall humidity and more.
Stay aware of your body and how you feel during exercise. Wearing breathable clothing can help keep your body temperature cool and prevent internal overheating. Always wear sunscreen if you plan to workout outdoors – yes, even if it’s cloudy. And if you decide to workout during the colder months, make sure to wear removable layers such as a jacket or even hats and gloves if necessary.
There is a large variety of quality footwear on the market, ranging in thick-soled shoes to provide extra protection against foot and ankle injuries, as well as lightweight, shock absorbing shoes to reduce pressure and provide cushion. The type of shoe you choose should depend on the type of activity you do. Talk to a healthcare professional, physical trainer, or athletic shoewear specialist for help on choosing the right shoe for your exercise routine.3
Pre And Post Workout: Make Sure To Stretch, Warm Up, Cool Down, And Engage In Post-Workout Recovery
Coaches tell their players to practice good habits every practice for a reason. Athletes are trained to begin exercise in a warm up session to increase circulation, loosen joints, and warm up the muscles they will be using to carry out their physical activity. Keeping your muscles warm will help to prevent injuries, allowing your body to prepare for the workout safely.
Harvard Health suggests a good warm-up should last approximately 10 minutes for best results monitoring heart rate.4 This can include stretches, cardio, and range-of-motion exercises. It’s important to give your body the same opportunity to cool-down after you work out to relax your muscles and support injury prevention.
Some additional ways you can support post-workout recovery and reduce the risk of sports injuries include the following:
- Stay hydrated. Replace any lost fluids during exercise to boost recovery.
- Be mindful of nutrition. What we put into our body translates into our performance, endurance, body recovery, and how well our bodies can repair tissues broken down during exercise.
- Allow your body to rest. Part of your workout plan should include allowing your body to repair and promote recovery. It’s suggested to avoid excessive overtraining to support injury prevention.
- Stretch daily. Increasing range of motion and reducing post-exercise aches, pains, and muscle stiffness have been attributed to daily stretching, while also lowering your chances of injury.
Remember This Important Aspect Of Fitness: Practice Good Posture And Body Form When You Exercise
When it comes to exercise, stretching and proper posture not only help to prevent injury but also relieve pain. Stretching has also supported the improvement of muscle strength and is suggested to promote flexibility. Stretching can help with injury or discomfort resulting from overuse, such as shin splints, plantar fasciitis, or muscle aches. Studies have shown that proper techniques have even resolved symptoms of these conditions without treatment.5
Healthy posture is like a good exercise routine, you can’t expect results right away, but it can dramatically help strengthen muscles and decrease sport-related injuries. Studies have also suggested that targeted exercises and body forms can help combat neck tension and knee pain.6
The phrase “no pain no gain” lends itself to individuals believing that they only had a good workout if they feel pain and soreness afterwards. It’s important to keep in mind that this may not always be the case and could imply that injury has occurred. Make sure to read up and stay informed so you know when you should consult your doctor or seek medical attention for an exercise induced injury.
Don’t Forget Protective Gear For Certain Workouts: Helmet, Knee Pads, Shoulder Pads, Mouth Guards, Etc.
Wearing protective gear is an important part of many physical activities and should not be skipped out on. With growing concerns for concussions in contact sports, it’s recommended to wear proper head protection to ensure maximum safety.
Just as helmets help to protect your body’s most valuable organ, the brain, mouth guards have also shown to help reduce the likelihood of concussions, and lip and mouth injuries.7 Safety pads, including knee pads, shoulder pads, and elbow pads, can help reduce the risk of strains, fractures, and other preventable injuries during sporting activities.
Here’s to you and your healthy, happy exercise journey ahead!
Compound Vs Isolation Exercises: What Are The Benefits And Differences Between The Two
What Are The Health Benefits Of Outdoor Fitness Training And Some Outdoor Fitness Ideas?
How Important Is Nutrition When It Comes To Overall Fitness?