03 Nov 6 Essential Ways To Prevent Injuries Exercising
Covid restrictions are easing and that means we can all start getting back on track with our exercise routines. Now that we are all going back to the gym, playing sports and swimming to burn off those extra covid-19 pounds, it is important to consider ways to minimise the risk of injury.
1. Strengthen Your Muscles
Conditioning the muscles that you use when you exercise helps to build more strength and stamina, helping you improve your times or your game! Regardless of what exercise you are doing, regular participation in strength training improves cardiac health, body composition, bone mineral density, and decreases cholesterol levels. The easiest place to start is with bodyweight training as it is convenient and can be incorporated into any kind of environment. Below is a beginner bodyweight strengths-based workout to get started on:
- 20 body weight squats
- 10 push ups
- 20 walking lunges
- 15 second plank
- 30 jumping Jacks
Repeat for 3 rounds.
2. Warming Up and Cooling Down
Bringing fresh blood flow into your muscles with short and gentle movements will prepare them for activity, reducing the risk of spasms and strains. It is important to stretch before your warm up to get the blood flowing and to help with your flexibility. Your warm up should consist of some gentle aerobic activity, such as cycling or jogging, for 5 to 15 minutes which gradually increases in intensity to warm your muscles until you have a slight sweat. Cooling down after exercise with gentle movements and stretches will help restore the normal resting length of your muscles and drain fluid that may have built up in body areas that worked the most during exercise.
3. Proper Technique and Form
Whether you are running, walking, cycling or playing a sport it is a good idea to look up the appropriate way of performing the activity before starting it. The active and weight bearing nature of exercise makes it essential to follow proper technique and form to minimize risk of injury and maximize athletic results. Technique is the way an exercise is performed in order to target specific muscle groups. Form is all about injury prevention. Without the proper technique and form, your results won’t be as good as they could be and can have negative effects on your body, leaving you further away from your fitness goal or unable to play sport.
For example, when doing a squat, improper technique would be to stand with your feet too wide apart. Correct form for a squat involves; starting with straight legs and arms pointed forward at shoulder height, then while bending the knees, keeping your back straight, arms forward and abs engaged.
4. The Right Equipment and Gear
When exercising, it is essential to make sure that you are using the right equipment and wearing the appropriate gear. One of the most common that people tend to overlook is their footwear. No matter how you exercise (except for martial arts and swimming), the correct footwear is essential to absorb the impact of movement as well as provide adequate support for your ankles and feet. This is especially important in sports where knee and ankle injuries are common, such as netball and football. If you are unsure what is best for you, book in to see our podiatrist Nick Sprenger who can give you the best advice and footwear suggestions out there to support your feet and ankles.
For sports players especially, protective gear such as knee and elbow pads, helmets, mouthguards, gloves or shin pads, sun and eye protection may be helpful in many contact when there is a risk of impact with another player, the ground or a piece of equipment. Making sure that you have all the gear when you play and that it is fully functioning is highly important, it is not worth the risk to play without it!
5. Be Aware of the Heat
Summer is near and the temperature outside is already rising. It is important to plan ahead when you will be exercising outside to make sure that you are prepared for the sun and for the heat. This is especially important if you usually exercise in air conditioning and have an outdoor event or sport planned as you will need to make sure that you plan in advance to acclimatise your body to exercising in the changed temperature. In general, it is best to try to avoid exercising between 10am and 2pm, the sun is at its peak and it is the hottest time of the day. Also it is important, especially in the hotter months, to make sure you keep on top of your hydration levels.
Whatever you do for exercise, it is essential to drink water and stay hydrated. Dehydration can happen when your body loses too much fluid, such as from excessive sweating, which means you’ll not be able to regulate your body temperature as effectively. This can lead to headaches, dizziness and can seriously impact people with chronic illness or children. Dehydration will also adversely affect your performance, as your blood volume will be reduced and you’ll be less able to deliver oxygen to your working muscles.
The best thing that you can do is to be well hydrated before you start exercising. You can assess this by checking your urine is clear and not concentrated. Drink before, during and after you have finished exercising so that you are replacing the fluids you have lost through sweating. Remember that alcohol and any drinks containing caffeine can lead to increased dehydration.
How can Health Place help you?
Not only do we treat injuries, but we also know how to prevent them! At Health Place we have talented therapists who will always assess your pain or injury first before treatment and give you a treatment plan and exercises for you to do at home tailored to your needs.
For any more information or questions, feel free call us at (07) 3852 2434 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
According to QLD Health and the WHO, if you are experiencing any of the following please stay home and seek professional medical advice:
- Sore Throat
- Runny Nose
- Difficulty Breathing
The Australian Government has set up a Coronavirus Hotline for those needing more information: 1800 020 080