It is just the beginning of the second week, and you are yet again stuck with a leg injury. People who are new to their workout routines are more prone to fitness injuries. As important as exercise is to your health and well-being, it is equally important to follow the proper techniques to prevent injuries. Injuries can not only cause you excruciating pain, but they can also sideline you from all those activities you love to do for extended periods of time. Injuries can happen to anyone at any time, no matter their experience or fitness level. Remember, even simple walking can cause an injury.

To keep your body protected from unnecessary workout injuries, I have a few important tips to share.

Warm up before each and every workout

It is important to warm up before each of your workouts to ensure that your muscles and surrounding tissues receive enough blood and nutrients to perform the required tasks during your exercise routine. About 10 minutes of light cardio warm up exercise like running, jumping, skipping or stretching will get your circulation going and qualify as a sufficient warm up.

Do not rush! Gradually increase the time and intensity of exercise

Usually beginners have a lot of enthusiasm and go too hard too soon. But hold on! Begin with a moderate exercise routine and do not expect six pack abs within a month. Start with 20 minutes of exercise, 2 times a week and gradually build upon this. You may also use the perceived exertion scale to determine the proper exercise intensity for you. Do not push yourself too hard. Just take it easy.

Cross training is a must

Bring variation into your workout. And cross training is important in this aspect. Stop overusing one set of muscles. Repeating the same muscle movement over and over can lead to severe repetitive-use injuries, such as shin splints. So, plan out your exercise routine and follow it accordingly. You may

  • Perform cardio exercises on Day One
  • Lift weights on Day Two
  • Swim or cycle on Day Three.

The importance of water consumption and exercise safety

You can lose an extensive amount of fluid for every hour of exercise. This may lead to dehydration and can cause a significant drop in sporting performance. It may also cause cramping, heat stroke and heat exhaustion. However to avoid this, I suggest you

Hot weather and exercise safety

As we all know hot weather can make us extremely tired. And exercising in excessive heat can put an additional strain on your body. Symptoms of heat-related illnesses include

  • Headache
  • Weakness
  • Discomfort
  • Nausea
  • Irritability
  • Cramps

How to avoid heat-related illness especially during your exercise routine

  • Drink plenty of water before, during and after you exercise
  • Wear loose-fitting, light-colored and lightweight clothing
  • Exercise during the cooler parts of the day – preferably before dawn and after sunset
  • Reduce the intensity of your workout
  • Do not drink alcohol, tea or coffee before or after workout. These beverages are known to promote fluid loss

The right use of equipment and exercise safety

The right technique to use equipment while exercising is often overlooked by many people. Incorrect use of equipment can significantly increase the risk of an injury by increasing the chances of falls or collisions. So to avoid such situations, here are a few important tips

  • Make sure you are using the right grip when handling equipment
  • Ensure that the equipment is appropriate for your body type
  • Wear appropriate exercise shoes
  • Check the equipment regularly and replace it if worn out. If you are unsure as how to check your equipment, consult your trainer or the gym staff

Injuries can also be caused by using the incorrect form or technique. So, it is always best to exercise under the supervision of a certified fitness trainer and follow their workout instructions.

Follow the proper diet

Nutrition follows the same principle as hydration. Although your body utilizes fat cells as energy, you might suffer an injury during your workout, if you don’t have an adequate amount of glycogen available for your muscles to use during your workout. This may lead to muscle failure in the middle of your workout. This can cause extreme pain in your tissues that can seem to take forever to heal. Feeding your body with the proper nutrition pre and post workout helps to repair any muscle-fiber damage. The right balance of protein and carb consumption is important, especially if you workout regularly.

Most importantly, don’t workout on an empty stomach or immediately after eating a large meal to avoid discomfort during your workout. Stick to a balanced diet before, during and after exercise.

Listen to your body

Sometimes your body knows you better than anything else. There are certain signals that you have to be aware of that can tell you when you’re at a risk of getting hurt. Signs like extreme fatigue, intense pain or excessive persistent soreness are signs that your body is at its limit and needs to rest.

Improper techniques can wrench a muscle or tear delicate connective tissues quicker than you can strike a match. As it is rightly said – ‘prevention is better than a cure’, so be careful and simultaneously enjoy each of your workout sessions to keep yourself fit forever.