If you are one of the many people hitting the gym with fresh determination in 2023, it’s important to approach your new workout safely. Injuries and fatigue can make reaching your goals harder, impossible and more expensive.
Anyone can sustain an injury while exercising, but a sedentary lifestyle, being overweight and age are risk factors for exercise-related injuries. However, there are simple steps you can take to prevent problems when starting or leveling up your fitness routine.
Common Exercise-Related Injuries
Most exercise-related injuries are related to overuse or rushing to do more than your body is ready for. Common injuries include:
- Pulled muscles, including a strained back or shoulder
- Ligament injuries and meniscus tears
Shaking after exercising is also common. If you feel shaky after working out, it probably means you are fatigued, consumed too much caffeine, are dehydrated or have low blood sugar.
Prevention is Key
Listen to the experts: We’ve all heard the warning to check with a doctor before beginning a new activity; this step is really important in preventing injury. An annual physical with a review of your basic bloodwork can help your doctor catch potential problems before they start.
Use a foam roller: Rolling your muscles before working out can help sore, tight muscles, result in a more effective warm-up and speed up recovery.
Warm up: Starting your workout slowly helps your heart rate to increase slowly and prepares your muscles, joints and tendons for rigorous activity. Two great warm up options are riding a stationary bike or walking on a treadmill.
Strengthen your core: Core muscles, which include your lower back, pelvis, hips, and abdominal musclesaffect your stability, which is your steadiness and balance. Studies have found that strengthening core muscles is a great way to prevent injury.
Don’t overdo it: Trying to do too much when you start a new workout regimen lead to mental burnout and injury. Ease into exercise and gradually strengthen muscles. Start with short sessions and eventually build up to longer amounts of time.
Those lifting weights should start with light weights and slowly progress to more resistance. Three to four days each week of weight training, focusing on different muscle groups on consecutive days, is a healthy goal for beginners.
It’s very important to pace yourself and know your limitations. If something hurts, stop doing it and give yourself time to heal. Seek help from a specialist if the pain does not subside.
Cross-training: Incorporating various activities like yoga or different types of cardio into your routine is a great way to prevent injury. Working different muscles and moving them in various ways prevents overuse injuries and muscle imbalances.
Maintain proper form: A personal trainer can help you put together an appropriate fitness plan and can ensure that you are doing the exercises and using equipment properly.
Wear the right footwear: Footwear that provides adequate stability can help you to avoid putting unnecessary stress on your knee.
Stretch and cool down: Taking time to stretch after each workout will help you to relax, improve your flexibility and give your heart rate a chance to slow down. Stretching helps muscles to lengthen and relieves lactic acid that builds during exercise. Be careful not to overdo it so you don’t sprain, strain or tear a muscle or ligament.
Recovery: Taking a break between workouts gives your body time to adjust to your new routine and gives muscles a chance to rebuild. It also helps to prevent you from mentally burning out while working toward your goals.
Eat to support your fitness goals: Avoid fatigue, dehydration, and injury by fueling your body properly before and after your workout. It’s important to support your fitness routine by staying hydrated and eating every two to four hours. The best nutritional choices are lean meats, vegetables, whole grains, fruits and legumes. Adding extra carbohydrates or electrolytes before working out can also be helpful.
Although it’s possible to become injured while exercising, the physical and mental benefits of working out far outweigh the risks for most people. Congratulations on committing to better health in 2023. Keep these tips in mind so you can stay on track with your goals and reach out to our specialists if you need help.
If you have questions about an injury or would like to schedule an appointment with one of our specialists, book online or call (512) 439-1000.