Working out and exercising is essential to the degree that you’re able to perform it. Bodyweight exercises, cardio, or simply being more active and going for walks can help you live a higher quality life, as it helps your body become more adapted to physical stress, and will improve your health through and through. Exercise can seem like something that takes away time from your daily schedule, but it can help you live each day feeling active, engaged and aware, which can make a nice change from feeling overweight, bloated, and untrained.
That being said, exercise requires physical effort and work. It also requires the willingness to adapt to stress, which can, if performed poorly, cause you injury. So, it’s not about working out for your ego and for your ability to feel powerful, as exercising in the correct manner will help you net better results than going for gold from the offset.
So, how can you avoid workout injury? Check out these great tips to stay injury free while exercising and strength training!
Wear The Correct Apparel & Use The Right Equipment
Every form of exercise you try will require its best set of apparel to stay safe. Yes, that includes even seemingly free-form exercises like swimming. Swimming caps, goggles and swimwear all count here, no?
For other exercises and workout regiments, you may need to invest a little more. If you begin running in your office shoes and jeans, you’re not going to have a great time. Investing in proper running shoes that help you rebound more easily and keep proper form can be essential. The correct apparel is also aided by what equipment you turn up to the gym with.
For instance, you might not wish to wear a squat suit as you learn how to weightlift, but a belt can help if you’re squatting certain weights. For weightlifting, a good bag of chalk you can use to dry your hands and sustain better grip on the barbell can be essential, and it’s cheap. If your gym doesn’t allow that, change gyms.
Remember that equipment is also defined by the details. If you’re weightlifting for an hour without a water bottle, odds are you’re going to feel light-headed and potentially even dehydrate yourself. It’s the little things that count. Make sure you’re equipped.
Warming up is essential. It’s important for your muscles to remain active and able from the offset, and that means ensuring they are prepared for the activity you’re about to put them through. Remember that warming up is not an optional task, as it can seriously help you avoid injury through and through.
The means by which you hope to warm up can differ depending on what exercise or workout plan you are following. For instance, if weightlifting, you may wish to use the barbell (without ANY weight) to help you perform the movements you hope perform. This helps you adapt to the movement range of motion while still performing some simply bodyweight exercises. Dynamic stretches (not, this is not the same as static stretching, do not do that before workout out), can help you warm up your muscle fibers as you stretch out and ensure your body is active and engaged. This will not only make the workout easier, but it’ll help you perform at your best.
If you’re not resting well, then you’re going to struggle to perform when returning to the gym or your workout regiment.
You need at least seven to eight hours of sleep a night. For some people, even that might not be enough. If you’re lifting weights heavily three times a week, your body may need up to nine hours to rest and fully restore itself each day, and even then, you may get delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) from time to time. Resting up helps you feel more ‘yourself,’ and in general will grant you the means to come back to your workouts feeling active, engaged, and inspired.
Resting up also means giving yourself the fuel for your body to restore itself. Excellent nutrition is essential. That means eating enough protein for your muscles to replenish (if weightlifting, that can mean one gram of protein per pound of your bodyweight), and plenty of nutritious green vegetables. You may wish to purchase protein powder, vitamins, supplements such as fish oil and more to help you with this. The healthier you are, the better in the long run. Funnily enough, abs are formed in the kitchen more than they are in the gym.
Follow A Worthwhile Program
Following a worthwhile program is also important. Sure, you may wish to look like an Olympic athlete, but that doesn’t mean you should follow their program when starting out. It can be easy to overtrain if you’re not careful, and you should always start slow and with a mind for correct scheduling.
Let’s say you hope to learn how to compound weightlift. Starting Strength and Stronglifts 5×5 are known as excellent programs you may wish to use. Furthermore, if you hope to achieve better cardiovascular health, then running using a Couch 2 5k running program could be your best bet going forward.
Following a worthwhile program helps you plan your action more appropriately, it gives you a framework with which to measure your progress, and more than that, you know it’s suitable for a beginner. This will grant you plenty of potential, provided you:
Research Into Proper Form
One of the main issues beginners run into is working out to look good, and not to get better at the training craft they are following. For instance, it might be that a young lad entering the gym for the first time has seen their older friends with big biceps and impressive bench press stats, and thus they begin to work those exercises only. In other words, they focus on the ‘mirror muscles.’
This might not be as appropriate as you imagine it to be. Proper form, and a cohesive workout that provides everything you need to get stronger, bigger and more functional is important. For instance, you might have the best plan in mind, but if you’re not completely aware of how to perform it, that should be your focus before you ever touch a barbel.
You can learn how to do a proper squat from Openfit, as they have fantastic guides that focus on safety and correct form first. Proper form is non-negotiable, if specific to your individual anthropometry. It’s better to perform a light squat with limited weight with the best form you can muster than increase your load each week and feel like you have to progress for your ego. You will actually be making better progress this way. It’s all about patience and willingness to do things the right way, because any other possible attitude could get you injured.
Find A Friend Or Professional To Help You
Of course, it can be hard to read something in a book and then perfectly perform your action in this way. Sometimes, we need friends to help us. This is why many gyms offer the assistance of personal trainers who will spot you, or even recommend a workout regimen for you. However, you must take their suggestions with a pinch of salt, because they want to keep you on as long-form clients going forward.
Finding a friend or professional to help you can mean being spotted on the bench press. It can mean bringing a friend along to ensure you both stay disciplined. It can be a means in which to keep each other in check, such as suggesting someone lifts with less weight so they don’t cause an injury. Two minds are better than one provided they are both informed. We’d recommend that.
Consider Your Environment
Consider the environment you’re working out in. It might be that in order to weightlift or run with a sense of focus, you need to visit your gym in the early morning so as not to feel like you have to rush at peak times.
Of course, now that Covid-19 is causing gyms to close once more, it could be that finding alternative means of working out, be that purchasing kettlebells, organizing another running route, or more can be essential. No matter who you are, you won’t be working in a vacuum. Make sure that it’s appropriate.
This even goes for someone investing in a home gym. If you haven’t the correct flooring for your weights, or if there is too much equipment in the space that could potentially translate to a fire hazard, you may need to rethink your strategy.
In conclusion, there are many rational measures that go into protecting yourself from the physical wear and tear of working out. Make sure you listen to your body, focus on caring for yourself in the best way, and move forward with a sense of responsibility. That, and these measures combined can help you stay healthier for longer, and hopefully prevent injury at all.