Avoid Exercise Injuries With These Tips
Spring Ahead!, Don’t Fall Back: Tips for Avoiding Exercise Injuries
With the warm weather and spring now in full swing, many people are eager to begin a new exercise regimen! Here are a few tips to prevent injury from occurring with any activity.
- Do a dynamic warm-up prior to exercise and stretch after exercise. Doing a dynamic warm-up (walking, light jogging, lunges, high knees and butt kicks), helps prepare the muscles for physical activity more so than static stretching. Static stretching after exercise helps increase flexibility while the muscles are warm, preventing muscle pulls and tears.
- Dynamic warm-up: It has been shown that a dynamic warm-up prior to exercise limits injury. A dynamic warm-up should take between 5-10 minutes based on how vigorous your exercise regimen is. This type of warm-up can consist of jump roping at a minimal speed for 1-2 minutes; low or high kicks while walking or standing in place; cross over step; lunges or lateral lunges while progressing forward or sideways; and high knees with jogging or walking.
- Static stretching: Static stretching consists of placing your muscle in its elongated position for a period of time. Research shows stretching a muscle for 30 seconds or up to 2 minutes is best to improve flexibility. It is very important to stretch your hamstrings and quads after performing any type of running or jogging.
- Pace yourself. If you are going to start running, begin gradually. Start off with running a half mile only. Progress yourself by a half mile to a mile each week. This will help prepare your body for physical activity and limit muscle soreness after exercise.
- Go to the pool. Activities in the water limit the stress placed on the joints. If you have arthritis, water aerobics will decrease your pain and improve your strength.
- “No pain, no gain” is not always true. It is normal to experience muscle soreness 12-48 hours after exercise, but muscle soreness is different than pain. If it hurts, stop!
- Do not overdo it. Thirty to sixty minutes of exercise per day is adequate to help an individual increase his or her overall health. Excessive exercise can lead to consequences such as muscle breakdown, ligament or joint injury.
- Eat a proper diet. Be sure to consume 1200-2000 calories per day. This number is based on your age, weight and height. Consume a diet rich in fiber and high in protein. Carbohydrates are also necessary to provide energy for your workouts!
If you are beginning a new exercise program, remember to consult your doctor prior to any type of physical activity to see if it is safe for you.
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