Everyone who exercises regularly will eventually suffer from an injury. Here are 7 tips to help prevent the most common workout injuries.
Whether you prefer running laps, lifting weights, or playing sports, every form of physical exercise can be massively beneficial to your health.
If you’re consistent, your workouts will sharply lower your risk of various illnesses, keep you at a healthy weight, improve your sleep, and even keep you mentally and emotionally healthier by reducing your stress.
That said, there are some risks in working out — and almost everyone who works out consistently will eventually sustain a minor injury or two.
Fortunately, the most common workout injuries are preventable, so long as you take the proper precautions.
Tips To Prevent The Most Common Workout Injuries
Here are seven tips that will help you avoid any distractions and help you get the best out of your workouts:
1. Remove Jewelry, Glasses, And Other Dangerous Items
First, before you begin your workout, make sure you’ve removed any jewelry, glasses, or other dangerous items from your person.
If you wear glasses, consider putting in contact lenses for the duration of your workout, or using strapped-on goggles instead. Otherwise, a fall could not only break your glasses but damage your face and head simultaneously.
If you wear custom gold grillz, earrings, or necklaces, take them off/out. Again, if you fall, these items could make your injuries much worse.
One of the best ways to prevent an injury during your workout is to spend a few minutes before the workout warming up.
Depending on the exercises you’re performing, this usually involves some combination of light jogging, walking, light versions of the exercise you’re trying, and complex arm and back movements.
The idea here is to literally “warm-up” your muscles, making them warmer, more limber, and less susceptible to tears, strains, and other forms of sudden damage.
Too many people go straight into heavy exercise and end up regretting it.
3. Use All Equipment The Proper Way
There are many pieces of equipment at the gym, and many of them are straightforward. However, there’s usually one right way to use them, and many ways to incorrectly use them.
If you use a machine improperly, or in a way other than intended, it could result in serious injury.
Sometimes, injuries result because someone genuinely doesn’t understand the way the machine is supposed to work; they fail to look at the diagrams or fail to ask for assistance and go with their instincts instead.
Other times, injuries result because someone deliberately attempts to use a machine in some novel way.
To avoid this, consult a staff member if you’re ever in doubt, and don’t get adventurous with heavy machinery.
4. Get A Spotter If You Need One
If you’re lifting heavy weights, you need to have a spotter. If you get to a point where you’re unable to continue lifting, this person will bail you out — and could potentially save your life.
You won’t need a spotter for light dumbbell exercises, or cardiovascular exercises like running. But for bench presses, barbell squats, and other heavy exercises, a spotter is a practical must.
Ask a stranger for help if you need to; they’ll probably be glad to help out.
5. Wear The Right Forms Of Protection
Understand the risks associated with every exercise in your workout, and wear the right forms of protection no matter what.
For example, if you’re bicycling, you’ll need to wear a helmet, and preferably some protection for your wrists, knees, and elbows.
If you’re playing a contact sport, mouthguards and other protective gear may be necessary.
If you’re not sure what the appropriate gear is, ask someone who engages in this activity regularly, or talk to your doctor.
6. Don’t Push Yourself Too Hard
When motivated to exercise, people often get excited to push themselves.
For the most part, this is a good thing. They try to lift more weight than they did last time or try to beat the time it took them to run a mile in the past.
However, if you push yourself too hard, it could have disastrous results.
Lifting more weight than you can feasibly handle, sprinting beyond your capabilities, and doing too much in a single session can all result in injuries ranging from mild to severe.
7. Cool Down And Stretch
After your workout, it’s important to cool down. Spend some time doing a lighter version of the last few exercises you did, and make sure you spend several minutes stretching.
Stretching will help reduce the possibility of muscle soreness after a workout. And, more importantly, it will keep your muscles, tendons, and ligaments limber enough to resist injury in future sessions.
Even with these precautions, there’s a chance you could get one of the most common workout injuries. If you do, make sure you seek medical attention right away and don’t try to push through the rest of your workout.
The best course of action is usually to spend some time resting, avoiding workouts entirely, while you’re able to heal. That way, you’ll be able to come back in full force.