Exercise provides many benefits including increased muscle strength and cardiovascular health. Despite this, the potential for injury is also increased. There are several steps you can take in order to not only optimize your workouts but to prevent injury. These include:
Stretching Beforehand – Dynamic stretches utilizing the target muscle groups for your workout are key to priming your body. For instance, before going for a run, walking lunges are a great way of warming up your lower body. Stretching increases circulation and improves overall function. Jumping right into an activity can potentially cause muscle strain as your muscles have not been properly activated.
Stretch Afterward – Static stretches post-workout are beneficial towards increasing muscle flexibility which can aid in workout performance. There is conflicting evidence on the effectiveness of post-workout stretches towards the direct prevention of injuries, however, the flexibility and wellbeing benefits make them worthy of your workout routine.
Listen To Your Body – Feeling pain during your workout? For some, powering through is the way to go. This, however, is dangerous. If you are suddenly feeling joint pain or any other pain, you need to cease activity immediately. Injuries can be worsened by continued overuse so it is important to apply the principles of R.I.C.E. when they do occur (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation). If pain continues, schedule an appointment with a physical therapist or chiropractor if there is pain in the back or neck area.
Hydrate & Eat Healthy – Giving your body the hydration and fuel it needs to operate properly will improve overall workout performance and reduce the chance of injury. Excess weight can also increase the chance of injury due to increased pressure on your muscles and joints. Reduce weight but avoiding processed foods.
Wear Proper Footwear – Select shoes designed for the activity you are doing i.e. running sneakers are the best way to avoid added pressure on your joints when running.
Rest – Plan for at least one rest day per week in order to allow for muscle recovery.
Treat right away – If you notice reoccurring pain, schedule an appointment with a medical professional like one of our physical therapists, chiropractors, pain management physician, or orthopedic spine specialist. This will enable you to receive effective treatment in order to prevent your injury from worsening. Contact us today!