How to Prevent Injuries During Exercise

Many people enthusiastically start a new exercise program just to get sidelined shortly after due to a fitness injury. With the right precautions and mind set this can be prevented.

Warm Up

It is imperative to warm up before each workout to ensure that the muscles and surrounding tissue receive enough blood and nutrients to perform any required tasks during the actual exercises. Skipping the warm up can result in painful muscle tears that take time and rest to heal. About 10 minutes of light cardio routines like jumping, running, or using an elliptical will get your circulation going and qualify as adequate warm up.

Stretching (Pre- and Post-Workout)

Stretching your muscles after your warm up increases your flexibility while giving you a longer and leaner appearance. The increased flexibility will allow you to perform better during your main workout and minimize the risk of injury. Bad form, however, can still result in tearing of ligaments. You should also stretch all the muscles you challenged during your workout afterward again.

Hydration

Trying to work out without drinking water before and during your workout is the equivalent of attempting to drive your car with an empty tank of gas. Before you know it your system will shut down with minor or major collateral damage in the form of injuries.

Nutrition

Naturally, nutrition follows the same principle as hydration. Although your body might access your fat cells as energy reserves eventually, you might suffer an injury way before then if you don't have any readily accessible glycogen available for your muscles to use during your workout. Muscle failure in the middle of an exercise will lead to painful tears in the tissue that notoriously take forever to heal. Feeding your body the necessary protein post-workout to repair any muscle fiber damage is of course equally important as the pre-workout carb consumption.

Rest

Avoid over-training and take at least one day off from your fitness regime each week. You should also take a break if you feel extremely sore and exhausted or if you experience intense physical discomfort. Consult with a physician to rule out any serious conditions or injuries.

Keep in mind that your body runs like a perfect machine, but on the same side of the coin it needs diligent maintenance in the form of proper nutrition, stretching and rest. Too much of a good thing is always bad and leads to negative results. Know your limits and listen to your body.

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Fitness & Weight Loss 101 Examiner Astrid Bidanec has her masters in journalism and 16 years of experience writing on fitness, weight loss and sports.

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