While we here at Dynamic Physiotherapy specialize in sports and exercise related injuries, in an ideal world, business for us would be a lot tougher to find! Of course some injuries are unavoidable and are a risk factor one must accept when taking on any physical endeavour; however, the vast majority of injuries are not only preventable, but completely avoidable.
Before you begin your next workout routine or exercise regimen, here are ten tips you can follow to help keep yourself injury free:
This is possibly the most important step, but unfortunately one of the most overlooked. Maybe you got away without warming up in your youth or were in a hurry and decided to go straight to your workout. Regardless, going from 0 to 100 can shock your system and lead to an injury. Always warm up to at least break a light sweat before undertaking any heavy workout routine.
Just like warmups, stretching is an important and often overlooked aspect of your workout. While the prevailing wisdom has flip flopped numerous times in recent years over the efficacy of static stretching, dynamic stretching (stretching that involves moving the muscle in question) before a workout can help reduce your chance of injury.
Even after stretching, you still don’t want to jump to 100% exertion right off the bat. Gradually increase the weights, repetitions or difficulty of your exercises. If you’re lifting weights, make your first couple sets an amount you can handle before going for a personal best.
Don’t use this as an excuse to be lazy, but listening your body can help avoid a magnitude of injuries. Some days you are simply too sore, exhausted, or injured to work out. Use that time to rest and recover so you are healthy to train another day.
If you are lifting heavy weights, a spotter is a simple and effective way to avoid injury. A spotter can allow you to push yourself to your maximum effort but avert disaster in case your muscles fail and give out or simply help you get through those last few reps.
Better than a spotter is a personal trainer. While it may cost you a bit extra, an effective personal trainer is the best way to ensure you get the most out of your work out. They can act as a spotter, correct your form and guide your progress knowing when to push you or when you’ve had enough.
Not only can doing the same workout routine over and over again be boring and stifle results, it can also help lead to injuries. Repetitive motions is one of the most common ways that muscles are strained and diversifying your workouts can help avoid this.
This may seem obvious, but go to any gym and you’ll find a large number of people doing any given exercise wrong. Use proper technique with free weights and follow the instructions on any piece of equipment. If you’re unsure about an exercise, don’t be afraid to ask someone more knowledgeable than yourself!
Shoes are typically the most important piece of equipment for a proper workout. It’s amazing how many people injure themselves because they are not wearing proper running shoes on a jog, or are wearing ones that are worn out. If exercising in the cold, dress in layers and in any weather, be sure to wear clothing that helps shed sweat from your skin.
Finally, not only is this is part of living a healthy and balanced lifestyle, but eating healthy food and maintaining proper hydration can help avoid injuries. Dehydration can lead to cramps which in turn can cause an injury, while proper nutrition such as protein after a workout will help your muscles recover.
While we love our clients, we don’t want you to have to visit us because of an injury that could have been avoided altogether. An apple a day keeps the doctor away, but following these tips helps you to stay out of our office!