Keeping yourself healthy and in shape is important for a number of reasons. It improves your overall quality of life, as well as your overall health, and leaves you looking and feeling great.
Regular workout routines always carry the risk of injury, but there are easy ways to avoid getting hurt. Whether you’re a fitness veteran or are just starting a new program, take a look at our list for simple ways you can keep yourself healthy and on track to reach your fitness goals.
Common Injury Causes
Whether they occur at the gym, at home or elsewhere, fitness injuries may be more common than you think. In 2009, weight machines and free weights caused 224 injuries, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and SadlerSports.com (Source). Between 2007 and 2011, 66% of fitness injuries were caused by treadmills, cites a 2011 study that appeared in Injury Prevention (Source).
Fitness injuries typically fall into two categories, acute and overuse. The American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine describes them as follows (Source):
- Acute injuries are usually the result of a single, traumatic event (macro-trauma). Common examples include wrist fractures, ankle sprains, shoulder dislocations and hamstring muscle strain.
- Overuse injuries are more subtle and usually occur over time and are the result of repetitive micro-trauma to the tendons, bones and joints. Common examples include tennis elbow, swimmer’s shoulder, runner’s knee, jumper’s knee and shin splints.
While certain injuries may be less severe than others, they’re still injuries, and will require proper rest and healing time. Even the most careful person may still end up injured, but there are certain precautions you can take to lessen your chances for injury.
5 Ways to Avoid Fitness Injuries
1. Talk with your healthcare provider before starting a fitness routine.
You might be excited to get started on getting yourself into better shape, but be careful. Taking on too much physical activity too fast may strain your muscles or joints and leave you with an overuse injury. Pace yourself. Start slow and increase your activity according to what your body is telling you. Listening to your body is one of the most important parts of avoiding injury.
2. Warm up before every workout.
A quick warm-up routine helps ensure that your muscles and surrounding tissues are getting enough blood to correctly perform the movements in your workout. When you skip warming up, there may be an increased risk for muscle pulls and tears, which will set your fitness goals back because of required healing time. Your warm-up can include simple cardio routines that involve a short amount of running or jumping jacks.
3. Remember to stretch before and after your workout.
This should be a no-brainer, but stretching before your workout helps increase your flexibility, making it easier to perform the movements and exercises in your workout. It also helps reduce your risk for injury. After your workout, stretch those same muscles again to aid in proper recovery and avoid lactic acid buildup.
4. Keep yourself properly hydrated before, during, and after your workout.
The average adult body is 50% to 70% water, making proper hydration levels incredibly important. Water plays a number of vital roles in your overall health, and as you exercise, you sweat, which reduces your hydration levels. When your body is low on water, your risk for injury may increase. Be sure to hydrate properly before and after your workouts, but especially during it.
5. Give yourself adequate rest time.
Because overuse injuries can be incredibly common, allowing your body to rest is a crucial part of reaching your fitness goals. Set aside one day every week to allow your body to rest and recover. If there are other days where you feel sore or tired, rest. Always listen to what your body is telling you, and you’ll be less likely to risk injury.
Natural Products That Can Help
If you haven’t checked out all the sports & exercise nutrition products available at Natural Healthy Concepts, take a minute to look around our site. We carry some of the most-trusted brands including Vega and Klean Athlete – an official partner of the Major League Baseball Player’s Association.
You’ll find everything from supplements formulated for recovery – like ZMA Sports Recovery from NOW Foods – to electrolyte products and healthy whey protein powders from Tera’s Whey. It’s all available with free shipping to anywhere in the U.S.
What steps do you take to avoid fitness injuries? Please share your stories and tips in the comment section. We’d love to hear from you!
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