How to Prevent Injuries when Exercising

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You’ve finally made the commitment to get in shape or maybe to take your physical fitness to the next level. Eager to start seeing results, you jump into your new routine feet first and the next thing you hear is “ouch” as a workout injury derails your plans for a “better you”.

How do you minimise the chances of causing yourself injury during exercise? There are a number of things you should be doing before, during and after exercise to keep you safe and injury free. I’ve devised a 7 point plan that will prevent unnecessary injury as wells keep your motivation levels high!

7 Point Plan for Injury Prevention During Exercise

  1.  Have a Routine Physical Check - It’s a good idea to visit your doctor before beginning any new exercise program. Any new activity can stress your body. If you have undiagnosed heart disease or any other conditions, you should modify your exercise accordingly. Your doctor can give you some idea of what your limits might be and suggest an appropriate amount of exercise for you.
  2.  Gradually Increase Time and Intensity - Many people will begin a new exercise program with a lot of enthusiasm initially, and go too hard, too soon and then lose interest. Begin with moderate exercise of about 20 minutes, 3 times a week and gradually build on this. This way you will see the positive benefits build including your motivation. You can also use the perceived exertion scale to determine the best exercise intensity for you.
  3. Warm Up Before Exercise - A proper gradual warm up goes a long way to prevent injuries. If you’re on a treadmill for example, your warm up can consist of a slow walk before increasing the intensity.
  4. Don’t Exercise on Empty - You don’t want to exercise immediately after eating a large meal. Eating about 2 hours before exercise can help fuel your exercise. If you train early in the morning, you should opt for a light snack about 1 hour before – a banana or a glass of juice is good.
  5.  Drink Before You Exercise - Stay well hydrated. Keep a bottle of water handy while exercising and continue to sip on water throughout the day – this will also increase your metabolism.
  6.  Listen To Your Body - If you experience a sharp pain, weakness or light headiness during exercise, pay attention. This is your body’s signal that something is wrong and you should stop. Pushing through acute pain is not the way to go.
  7.  Cross Train - I could write a book on this one but basically cross training is a technique that involves using different types of exercise to reach your fitness goals. If for example you are using a treadmill every day, it’s a great idea to cross train with different activities such as strength training. Not only do you use your muscles in a different way, which is refreshing for your body, you also keep your mind engaged and motivation high.
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