Getting injured is one of the fastest ways to derail your fitness goals.  Having to take time away from training can wreak havoc on your fitness routine.  And many people find it difficult to get back into a regular routine after being sidelined with an injury.

So how can you avoid being derailed by an injury?  The simplest approach is to be proactive and avoid getting injured in the first place.

Easier said than done though, right?  Not necessarily!

These tips can help you stay healthy and on track with your fitness goals by avoiding injuries.

How to Avoid Injury During Exercise

  • Know your limits and don’t push too far beyond them.

    If you’re just starting out, you can’t expect to instantly be a pro.  Start from where you are now and ease into it safely.  Remember that there is a difference between pushing hard and pushing beyond your limits.  Pushing hard will help you progress while pushing too far could result in an injury.

  • Warm up/stretch/cool down before and after exercise.

    If you read about the effectiveness of stretching you are likely to find differing opinions.  Some experts advise stretching only before working out or only after when your muscles are warm.  Regardless of whether you actually stretch or not, it is important to warm your muscles up prior to a hard effort. You should also allow your body time to cool down following exercise.  This could mean a slow jog or light stretches depending on your activity.  While it can be tempting to skip this, it really is effective in avoiding injury as it prepares your body for your workout.

  • Listen to your body.

    You may experience soreness after a tough workout.  Listening to your body to know and understand the difference between regular soreness and the pain of an injury is important.  If your body is giving you signs of overuse and potential injury, it is best to back off for a bit to avoid further aggravating it.  Normal muscle soreness can be pushed through while pain should not be.

  • Wear good and appropriate shoes for the activity you are participating in.

    When purchasing athletic shoes, you may have noticed a wide variety of shoes.  Even though most shoes look the same on the outside, shoes for different activities are made to meet the specific demands of that sport.  For example, running shoes are made to absorb the constant pounding and repetitive motion while tennis shoes are made for more lateral movement.  Not only should you select the appropriate shoes, be sure they are in good shape and replace them as needed (which is probably more frequently than you realize).

  • Take rest and recovery days.  

    While it may be tempting to work hard every day, your body needs time to recover.  Even if you don’t take a complete rest day, it is advisable to have an easy workout day.  Ideas for easy work out days could include yoga or an easy jog.  Even though you won’t burn as many calories, it is an important time for your body to repair your muscles and replenish your energy.

  • Cross train.  

    Focusing on one activity exclusively can lead to overuse injuries.  As part of an overall balanced fitness routine, you should include other activities as well.  Developing other muscle groups can help strengthen and improve your primary workout.  For example, runners can benefit by adding days of biking, yoga, weight lifting or swimming.  Your overall fitness will improve while potentially improving your primary workouts.

Incorporating these tips into your fitness routine can really help prevent injuries before they occur.  However, if you do become injured, be sure to seek treatment for it to avoid further injury.

Have you ever suffered an injury that sidelined you?  What advice would you give to avoid injury?  Tell us in the comments below!

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