Warm before any workout. The purpose of warm up is to prepare the body for strenuous exercise. If you are doing strength training do 3-5 minutes of some type of full body movement. If you are running remember to start slower for 5-10 minutes and increase your pace once you know your body is ready. There are different types of warm ups depending on workouts you are about to performs, such as general warm up, dynamic or static stretching or warm ups specific to certain sports. Ensure to get the blood flowing to your muscles and joints. This increases muscle fibre flexibility which reduces the risk of pulling or straining the muscle. You are making your muscles more supple. Effective warm up should increase your respiratory and heart rate which will make delivery of nutrient and oxygen to the muscles and joints more efficient – exactly what is needed during workout. Warming up also prepares you mentally for the workout ahead. Thousands of injuries are reported due to lack of correct warm up, something many take for granted.
Good mobility and flexibility is important part of injury prevention. Static stretches should be performed after workouts, unless you are in specific sport. Stretches will not only help align your joints correctly, but should help in removal of lactic acid and therefore help with recovery. Stiff tendons increase passive forces generated within the muscle. People who are less flexible have been noted to have increased muscle damage following exercise. Stretching increases range of motion, correct the posture, enhances muscular coordination, improves blood circulation, relief stress and relaxes the body. In addition to post workout stretch try yoga or Pilates, or home stretch especially before sleep.
Gym is not a playground, and although we have great time when we train, staying focused is extremely important. In order to keep good form you have to think about the movement you are performing. You have to stay in the present moment. Think about which muscle is benefiting from the exercise you are performing. If you lose focus, you lose form and that can end up in injuries and accidents. Your mind can affect the speed in which you get to your goal while staying safe. People who focus on the particular muscle while working out report more muscle growth and tone. Plus, when you are focused on the present moment, exercise becomes a form of meditation. For the time you are in the gym performing any type of physical movement, allow yourself to clear the mind of everyday problems and turn your workout into a mindful experience. If you lose focus and are not careful you can injure yourself and other people around you.
Keep correct form at all times
In order to get the benefit out of exercising, correct form needs to be maintained throughout the workout. There is no other way. You can’t just come up to a heavy weight, place it on your shoulder and squat without previously knowing how to perform the movement correctly. If you do it incorrectly, you may not feel the results right away, but you may have pains in knees, neck and back in coming months which were caused by lack of good form. Just like anything in this world, exercise can do you good and harm. It is important for you to learn as much as possible on the subject since there is so much misinformation on the internet. Not maintaining correct form and causing yourself an injury can put you out of training for months and even years.
Exercises to pay special attention to:
- Leg press
- Pull downs
- Barbell curls
Eating clean and healthy foods day by day, and getting enough vegetables, especially greens, is crucial. If you fuel your body with junk, empty calorie foods, the same will be the quality of energy you have while you train. Taking right supplements to cover your individual needs is also vital, especially multivitamins, Omega 3 and amino acids, amongst others. This should provide the body with required nutrients to keep you going and keep injury out of your life. Nutrition is not just food. Drinking enough water during training is critical. Don’t have enough and you raise your chances for injury.
Getting enough rest between workouts is often ignored by highly driven people who want to achieve results quickly. Not allowing yourself to let go of the need of working out every day can have an impact on your central nervous system and your goal – whether you are trying to lose weight or gain muscle. Aside from many other problems which arise from lack of equivalent rest, injury is really dangerous one. Your muscle fibres which were broken down during training are healing and recovering in rest periods. If you train intensely and heavy too often, your body will not have a chance to regenerate and therefore becomes weaker. This leads to reduced performance, reduced glycogen stores and exposes your joints and muscles that hold them for raptures, tears and strains. Most common injuries are neck strains, back strains, spinal disk problems, knee pains, elbow tendonitis and avulsions of the muscles (complete tearing of the muscles). Sounds scary and unhealthy? Well, because it is. Best way is to prevent injuries altogether. Resting times are based on individual needs.
Comfortable clothing and footwear is very important in a gym or during other workouts. These days there is huge choice of different sports wear in affordable prices. Make sure your clothes are not too tight and allows full range of motion. Also keep your body warm during workouts by wearing more rather than less clothing. Your core temperature should be raised and sweating is part of effective workout. In order to prevent ankle, knee and hip injuries, ensure your shoes are fit for purpose and are comfortable. You can also wear gloves to the gym to help while gripping heavier weights. Grip bands can also be beneficial in some exercises but check how to use them before you use them.
Staying safe during your workouts will not only prevent injuries, it will keep you agile for many years to come, so that you do not have to stop even as you get older. Because injuries are reported all the time many people are put off by working out – for example running or using weights in the gym may be considered dangerous by some. Although accidents happen, a lot of injuries are related to lack of knowledge and ignorance. Each exercise is an art which can sculpture your body in the right way, if you let it. It requires your attention and self care. So keep safe and go workout!