New Exercise Routine? What You Need to Know to Prevent Injury
Have you ever started a new exercise routine only to get injured within a few weeks and having to stop exercising? It’s the worst! You have all of that momentum built-up to start exercising, and then next thing your know you physically can’t do it. Getting motivated to exercise is hard enough, don’t let an injury hold you back from exercising ever again.
Below lists how to prevent getting injured when exercising:
Stretch after exercise
I’m sure most of you have been told this before, and that’s because it’s true! Stretching will help to loosen up tight muscles which will not only prevent injury, but will also likely make you feel less sore so that you can exercise again soon pain-free.
Make a point to take a few minutes to stretch out your body after a workout. Even just as little as five minutes can be beneficial.
Invest in good shoes
Having good shoes is absolutely necessary for preventing injury. This is especially important if you are walking or running, or any other exercise where you are pounding on the ground. You want to get shoes that provide plenty of cushion and that give you good support.
If it’s been a few years since you’ve purchased new sneakers, it’s probably a good idea to invest in a good pair now that you are starting a new exercise regimen.
Eat plenty of protein
Exercise breaks down muscle so that it can be built back up to become stronger. Protein is what supplies the building blocks for the body to be able to build muscle, so if you aren’t eating adequate amounts of protein, this leads to muscle loss. Muscle loss can lead to decreased stability and structural weaknesses throughout the body, which can lead to injury. Make sure you aren’t skimping on protein when you start exercising.
Mix up your workouts
If you do the exact same exercise everyday for weeks on end, this will lead to overuse of those muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints which can lead to injury.
Instead, vary up the type of workout you do. This could mean going for a run rather than biking, or even just changing up the speed and incline of the workout tool you are doing.
Incorporate strength training
The majority of new exercise goers will start with the cardio machines, which is great, but too much cardio leads to muscle wasting and injury. Strength training increases stability of muscles and helps to improve structural weaknesses in your body. When one part of your body is slightly weaker than another, this can lead to overcompensation of other muscle groups, which in effect can lead to widespread injury.
This doesn’t even have to be a lot, I would recommend dedicating an hour a week to strength training. You don’t even have to use weights, yoga, pilates, barre, and other body weight exercises are excellent strength training exercises.
Incorporate yoga moves
Yoga helps to relieve tension in joints and lengthens out muscles to increase flexibility and range of motion. You want your muscles to be as flexible and lose as they can be because a tightly bound muscle means a greater risk that this muscle will be stretched beyond its limits.
Think of yoga as a two-for-one in terms of stretching and strength training. It is also great for stress relief and increasing mindfulness. I personally try to do at least a couple hours of yoga a week.
Use a foam roller
The main objective of foam rolling is to restore flexibility and range of motion to very tight muscles, or “knots” of muscle. Very tight muscles and strained ligaments and tendons, is what leads to injury. Breaking up these knots restores blood flow through these tight areas, thereby increasing circulation and allowing oxygen and other mediators to repair muscle tissue. Read more about the benefits of foam rolling here.
All of the above will help to prevent injury so try and incorporate these key factors into your new exercise routine!
About the author: Sarah-Kate Rems is an Ivy League trained Board-Certified Family Nurse Practitioner licensed in California with an expertise in women’s health and preventative healthcare. She considers nutrition and exercise to be the basis of well-being and is a strong advocate for daily physical activity and maintaining a healthy diet. Sarah-Kate is also a co-founder of The Mindful Tech Lab.
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