Getting injured sucks! Sprains, strains Tendinitis and even broken bones are all consequences of living an active and athletic lifestyle. With the correct education and preparation many injuries can be prevented.
There are two classes of injuries: Traumatic and Cumulative. Traumatic injuries are those accidents that happen in sport or daily life such as rolling your ankle or crashing your bike during your morning commute. Cumulative injuries relate to tissue damage and occur as a result of repetitive strain. These injuries can happen for a number of reasons including poor posture, faulty movement and improper training.
There are some simple steps that can help you keep injury free during your workout:
Warm up and Cool down
Every workout should begin with a warm up and end with a cool down period. This is essential as a warm up helps your body get ready for exercise and gradually increase your heart rate. It also loosens your muscles and joints. The warm up doesn’t have to be too intense it should get your heart pumping and some sweat going, ready to work out. Some ways to warm up include:
- Ride exercise bike for 5-10 minutes
- Jog for 5-10 minutes
- Jump rope for 5 minutes
A cool down is also important for post workout, it brings your heart rate back down to normal. Walking for 5-10 minutes is the perfect way to finish a training session.
Dynamic stretches before and after you work out. This helps increase flexibility. Research is conflicting as to whether it can also prevent injury, its best to stretch after you warm up and cool down.
Ease into it
When you begin a new workout program or exercise routine, start slowly then gradually build up the duration, intensity and frequency
Vary your workout. Don’t overuse one set of muscles. Repeating the same muscle movement frequently can lead to overuse and repetitive use injuries such as shin splints and tendinitis. Some ways to vary your workout include:
- Chest on day one
- Run on day two
- Swim on day three
Listen to your body. The "no pain, no gain" philosophy can set you up for an injury. You can get fit without feeling pain. Don't push yourself to the point of pain. If you feel pain, you may be injured. Stop your workout, and rest for a day.
Wear the proper gear for your workout. If you are a runner, wear a good pair of running shoes that fit properly. If you are a biker, always wear a helmet.
Take 1 to 2 days off a week to rest. Rest days give your body a chance to recover between workouts. That can help prevent injuries.
Treating Workout Injuries
Injuries can happen, no matter how careful you are. If you develop a workout injury, follow the RICE method to keep your injury from getting worse:
R: Rest the injury.
I: Ice the injury to lessen swelling, bleeding, and inflammation.
C: Apply a compression bandage to minimize swelling.
E: Elevate the injury, if possible, to reduce swelling.