Workout-related injuries are no fun. They keep you from exercising, they make it tough to do the things you need to do each day, and they hurt!
Some injuries stem from accidents that can’t be avoided, but there are things you can do to prevent many types of injuries as you exercise. Incorporate these habits into your workouts to keep yourself healthy and off the injured list.
- Warm up first. A warm muscle—with good blood flow to it—is more elastic and flexible than a cold, rigid muscle. Warm up for five to 10 minutes before your workout with quick, light movement.
- Use good form. Using the right positioning when you work out is key to avoiding injuries to muscles and connective tissues. If you’re not sure what constitutes good form for a particular activity, look it up online or ask a certified trainer.
- Lift a safe amount of weight. Don’t try to prove something to yourself by lifting a weight that your body isn’t ready for. That’s a surefire way to hurt yourself.
- Give your body a chance to rest. Overtraining limits your body’s natural ability to recuperate from a workout. Stick with three or four sessions per week, and limit your workouts to an hour or less.
When to get medical care
Pay attention to any pain. If you experience major swelling or pain, sounds of popping or crunching when you move, trouble supporting any weight with the injured area, or other symptoms that concern you, see a doctor.