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How to avoid injury when embarking on an exercise program

Twisted angleWhether you’re new to an exercise program, or are a seasoned workout fanatic, you’re at risk of injury whilst working out if you don’t adhere to some straightforward guidelines:

1. Invest in the right equipment.

If your trainers are 10 years old with no grip left on the soles, it’s really time to invest in a new pair! Make sure you’re wearing adequate shoes and clothing whilst working out – both will help you stay much more comfortable during workouts as well.

If you’re using equipment such as a bicycle or rollerblades, make sure you have the correct protection guards and helmet.

2. Warm up and cool down.

As mentioned in one of our previous articles A basic guide to stretching, it’s important to warm up your muscles and joints prior to working out so they’re more supple and loose.

Warming up should be 5-10 minutes of light cardio exercise such as walking, light jumping, or slow skipping.

Once you’ve finished your workout, it’s important to stretch out all the muscles you’ve just worked. This gets rid of a build up of lactic acid and can prevent some of the soreness and strain that can happen, especially when undertaking a new workout.

The cool down should be carried out by reducing your workout down to a light cardio exercise, and then spending 10-20 seconds stretching out each muscle group.

3. Avoid dehydration

If you don’t drink enough water before, during and after exercise (although the latter to a lesser degree) you put yourself at risk of severe muscle cramp whilst working out.

Drink water throughout the day before working out, and then sip from a bottle regularly throughout your workout to avoid this common injury.

4. Listen to your body.

If you’re just starting out on a new exercise program, it’s best to start slow and build yourself up to working out at 100%. This not only allows your body time to adjust to a change in regime, but it helps you get used to the type of exercise your doing, and helps you determine what your body needs in terms of nutrients and rest to allow it to function at its best.

If you’re a seasoned exerciser it can be easy to think you won’t get injured. Don’t continue working out if you feel any pain, weakness or light-headedness, continuing on regardless of acute pain is the quickest way to develop a severe or chronic injury.

5. Take rest days.

Whilst it’s good to do a little light exercise everyday, and by light I mean a brisk stroll round the park or some light skipping for 10 minutes, this certainly doesn’t apply if you’re doing the Tabata Training method or some other form of high impact exercise.

Make sure you take time out to rest your body between classes. This will allow time for the balance of your body to return and all the nutrients from your healthy diet to work their internal magic!

With a little common sense and forward thinking you will work out safely without injury and continue to enjoy leading a balance lifestyle.

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