While working out regularly is one of the best things you can do for your body, it doesn’t come without risk. From overworked muscles and reduced mobility to tight joints and recurring pains, injury can look and feel like many different things.
Age, genetics, and the intensity of your workouts will all play into your susceptibility to injury, however, there are specific activities that you can do to reduce your risk of getting hurt as you progress through your health and fitness journey.
The following are 7 injury prevention practices that you should normalize and make a part of your health and fitness routine. While these activities may feel like one more thing you need to add to your schedule, they can ultimately be the difference between you meeting your goals and having to put them to the side as you recover.
STRENGTH CONDITIONING EXERCISES
Strength conditioning exercises are an effective way to prevent injury for a multitude of reasons. Proper alignment of the body is better maintained when your muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones are strong. Strength training will do just that, allowing your body to move, resist, and lift weight with reduced risk of injury.
It is common knowledge that stretching is good for your body-- positively influencing everything from flexibility and mobility to recovery and your ability to build muscle. Dynamic stretching and yoga are fluid stretching practices that pose all of these benefits, each of which actively reduce your risk of injury.
Injury so often stems from improper form, especially when it comes to lifting weights. Work with a certified fitness professional to ensure you maintain proper form when you work out. If you do not have access to a certified trainer, refer to the countless resources available online-- from informational blogs to live and recorded fitness classes. If a particular exercise ever feels uncomfortable, painful, or simply not right, air on the cautious side and ease into the movement the right way before adding reps, resistance, or weight.
PAUSE WHEN THERE IS PAIN
No matter if you are just starting out in your fitness journey or if you are a seasoned athlete, you must listen to pain. Pain and discomfort are signals from your body that something is not right. To effectively prevent injury, it is imperative that you respond appropriately to these signals and take a step back when necessary.
INVEST IN THE RIGHT GEAR
Injury can also be tied to the gear and equipment that you use. From shoes to boxing gloves, the quality of the gear you use can make a difference. Generally speaking, you want to invest in gear that provides the most support to your muscles, ligaments, and tendons.
MIX THINGS UP
If you do the same high-impact workout everyday, you are far more likely to experience injury than someone who has variety in their workout routine. Lift different amounts of weight, do varying amounts of reps, and mix up the actual exercises that you do. This will ensure that you are not overworking certain muscle groups to the point where injury is inevitable.
TAKE A RECOVERY-PROMOTING SUPPLEMENT
Injury can be prevented by prioritizing recovery. While taking rest days, switching up your workout to engage different muscle groups, and stretching all do this, taking a recovery-promoting supplement is also an effective way to steer clear of injury. Introducing this kind of supplement to your diet will naturally pose benefits to your recovery time, in addition to promoting enhanced endurance, supporting lean muscle growth, and improving hydration.