Pound of Prevention

A few extra minutes a day keeps the doctor away.

Injury is often overlooked by day-to-day gym goers. There are many ways to injure yourself while exercising.

Injuries can range from very small muscle pains to something much more severe. It is extremely important to protect yourself in as many ways as you can on your fitness path! Injuries can be frustrating and result in huge setbacks, so taking the time to prevent them is well worth the while. Here are a few easy things to do to lessen your chance of injury during exercise:

1. Warm Up and Cool Down: Many people rush into the gym and hop onto a machine, whether it’s for cardio or weights; this is one of the easiest ways to cause injury. Doing a 3 to 5 minute warm up is crucial in order to prepare your muscles for physical exertion. Not only will it help lessen the chance of injury, it also will improve your weight lifting abilities. Cooling down after a workout is also an important part of your routine; this can be through stretching or doing lower-intensity cardio to slow your heart rate.

2. Stretch: While this is one thing most people find extremely tedious, it’s very important. Stretching helps with muscle growth, recovery and prevention of injury. Stretching for 5 to 10 minutes before and after exercise will decrease muscle soreness, enhance muscle growth and recovery, and help reduce the
risk of injury.

3. Proper Form: This is one of biggest mistakes people make that often leads to injury. Weight lifting is a great exercise for your overall health – but only when done right. Asking for help from a trained professional is the best way to learn how to properly lift weights. Some common mistakes that lead to improper form are:

– Lifting a weight that’s too heavy

– Copying a neighbor in the gym who may not know proper form

– Trying an exercise that’s too advanced

– Not asking for help

Preventing injury is key to a successful exercise routine and your overall health. Adding a few extra minutes to your routine to do these things will reduce your risk for injury and keep you on your path to success. Nothing is more frustrating than an injury when you are starting to see results. If you need more help, don’t be afraid to ask a trained professional. Dealing with the setback of an injury is much more time consuming than preventing one. A few extra minutes a day keeps the doctor away!

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