When you are starting your journey with working out or even though you were more experienced it is crucial to know how to prevent injuries while exercising.
There are still many of us who don’t really care about avoiding them. So I am going to talk about importance of preventing injuries and how to do that. Hopefully you will learn something and realize why you should care.
Why are injuries so bad?
Injuries can backfire really badly. Imagine that you have been training for a month. Suddenly your back gets hurt so badly it is difficult to perform almost any kind of movement.
In this point you have to stop training until your back gets better. Let’s say it takes about two weeks. In that time you have lost some of that strength and muscle mass you were able to gain or you have again gained back your kilograms/pounds.
Doesn’t sound magnificent? Well, it isn’t.
It is true that after starting to work out again you can gain lost features back easier than starting from zero. But it might take another two weeks. After that, you are a full month behind from what you could be at the moment.
Of course back is technically the worst one to injure because you need it in so many exercises. After injuring your leg it is of course possible to train your arms only but your legs start weakening and it isn’t great either.
So, injury is the worst case scenario for one who is training. It takes so much of your training time away.
Injuries can also cause trouble in your daily life, not just at the gym. It can restrict you at work or in your free time. Think about back pain. You might not be able to sit or stand at work comfortably. Going to sleep might be painful.
Counter injuries with everyday life tricks
Don’t worry, I will be talking about what you can do in your training session. But first I want to tell you that most of the injuries can be prevented with simple things in your daily life.
People tend to think that every injury happens due to exercising but that is not the case.
Surprisingly common factor especially nowadays is sitting and, to be exact, sitting in a bad posture. I do it too and that has sometimes caused me troubles.
So, when sitting, remember to check your posture and correct it. Smart devices and computers tend to make us bend forward. Our shoulders, back and especially lower back will be stressed and injury can occur with or without exercising.
Remember also to get up from your computer now and then and walk around a while. Great trick to do is drink a lot of water while sitting long periods. This way you have to get up to go to toilet more often.
Overall walking and standing a lot makes your body more protected from injuries.
Another great thing to do is to stretch every day even if you haven’t been exercising. Do long 30-second stretches. Especially tight thighs are a common reason for a back pain so remember to stretch them every day.
Preventing injuries before, while and after training
Many of injuries still can happen within training process. Now I’ll reveal most common things we forget easily.
Warming up and stretching are really important before a workout.
You should target to warm up the muscles that are going to be trained. On a leg day use exercise bike for 5 minutes and do squats with your own body weight for example.
With arms, you might spin and twiddle them with or without a stick. Also, start your first exercises with low weights. For example, before bench press do 20 repetitions only with a bar and then add a little weight and do 10.
Also, stretching is important before workout. Difference is that you want to do max 10 seconds for each muscle. Try to activate your muscles by doing a little pumping movement while stretching. This kind of stretching opens your muscles but they don’t become too relaxed.
Other things to remember are right kind of outfit and shoes in gym. Long-sleeve training shirt or trousers can be helpful in warming up process. During exercising and overall it is important to drink enough water. That especially protects your joints.
While performing exercises remember to do them correctly and don’t use amounts of weight you can not handle. Remember to keep your back straight (this rule covers most exercises). Use muscles you should target because that helps to achieve right kind of movement.
Stretching after a workout should not be forgotten either. You should stretch first time right after a workout. Right duration for these should be 20 seconds for each muscle.
Two hours after a workout would be optimal to do another stretching session. Now you should do long stretches, meaning 30 seconds.
Remember to have rest days. Going to gym seven days a week doesn’t give you time to recover and that makes your body vulnerable to injuries.
What if it happens
No matter how hard you’ll try to prevent injuries, sometimes they still happen. It is normal and happens for everybody at some point.
You should always have rest after an injury. If not for whole body, at least to that part which got injured. Resting is the main thing to remember in order to recover fast. Don’t train your shoulder if it sprained. Let it rest until you know for sure it is safe to continue.
We tend to underestimate the seriousness of injury. Little pain in the back doesn’t stop us from continuing our exercises but it should. Truth is that it can get a lot worse if you don’t let the muscle be.
So what to do while waiting and recovering. Again, great thing to do is stretching. It can help and speed up the process. But don’t stretch too hard. If you feel pain while stretching, lower the tension and be more gentle. Stretching done wrong and with too much power can cause more harm.
There are also many creams and salves that can help muscle to recover. Ask from pharmacy what kind of salve you should use or do you even need to.
Listen to your body
In the end, number one thing you can do is to listen to your body. How are you feeling? Can you continue training or should you rest for a couple of days more? Often unpleasant pain is there to warn you that body might not be ready yet.
Be your own doctor and listen to your body. Use pain medicines if it hurts badly but avoid them if there is no real need to.
Of course in bad situations where you are not sure about your body’s current condition or pain seems to be abnormal, go see the doctor.