5 Tips to Keep You Injury Free in the Gym

Everyone loves getting a good workout in, but if you want to be able to do this for years to come, you need to make sure that you're preventing any possible injuries. Injuries can strike at any moment and very often, can mean spending two or more weeks away from all physical activities.  If you’re hit hard, frustration will set in and your progress will come to a screeching halt. Fortunately, with some wise injury prevention techniques, you can do your absolute best to side-step this occurrence.  While not all injuries are entirely preventable, most are with some wisdom. Here’s what to know.

1. Never Skip Your Warm-Ups

Of all the things you must do, getting in a good warm-up tops the list. Skipping a warm-up is like asking for an injury to occur, so be sure that you are making time for it. 5-10 minutes at the start of each workout to get the blood flowing to the muscles, joints, and ligaments can go a long way towards avoiding a strain or muscle pull.

2. Eat Properly Before The Session

One often overlooked injury prevention tip is to make sure that you are eating properly before the session is to begin. What does food have to do with injuries? Plenty. If you don’t eat before your session and it’s an intense one, low blood sugar can result.  When this happens, you’ll feel weaker and your coordination may fly out the window.  This could then translate to you getting sloppy with your movement patterns, quickly leading to an injury as a result of it. Get a good snack in that contains a mix of protein and carbohydrates to ensure this doesn't become your fate.

3. Be Sure To Vary Your Exercise Selection

Overuse injuries are commonplace for those who don't vary their programming. It's vital that you mix up the workouts and exercises you do. Don’t always gravitate to similar exercises to make up your session. Introduce as new exercises regularly. Not only will this help to give your muscles and tendons a break from repetitive movement patterns, but it’ll also help combat workout boredom as well. Not to mention continually changing it up can also help you avoid hitting the dreaded progress plateau.

4. Incorporate Yoga

Another great idea to include in your workout week is a few sessions of yoga. While definitely of different nature than your typical gym session, yoga is excellent for improving your flexibility, strengthening your tendons, and boosting your balance and muscle control – all factors that will lead to a lower injury risk. You can’t go hard 7 days a week, so adding a few yoga sessions into the mix will give you the break you need to recover while preventing future injuries down the road.

5. Sleep More

Sounds like a given? You’d be amazed at how many people don’t follow this common sense suggestion. As your training ramps up, so do your sleep needs.  Sleep is the primary time when the body is going to go into deep tissue recovery, so you’ll begin repairing all the broken down tissues in the body. This ensures that you come back stronger, not weaker, to your next workout session.  Failing to get adequate sleep and recover would mean you’ll just continually break yourself down. Eventually so much damage may occur and that’s when injury strikes. So keep these quick but highly effective recovery tips in mind. If you’re missing out on even just one of them, you could be at risk for being sidelined in the future.

Nicole Clark

Nicole Clark is a U.S. trained and licensed physiotherapist who became interested in physiotherapy through her experience as a competitive swimmer and runner. Nicole earned her Master of Science in Physiotherapy from Springfield College in 2003, graduating with honors. Her thesis was accepted to the Combined Sections Meeting of the American Physical Therapy Association in 2004. Nicole has sought post-graduate clinical education in such topics as trigger point dry needling, advanced treatment of the foot and ankle, orthotic fitting, corrective exercise, and joint mobilization.

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