Preventing Injuries While Working Out, Part 1

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How can you keep yourself safe while working out?

Weight loss can be a very exciting time for both men and women especially when a person has a high level of motivation. This excitement with the prospect of losing weight often results in overexertion and sometimes even improper form during exercise.

Nothing compares to the frustration of not being able to work out, especially if you are aiming to accomplish milestones in your weight loss plan. This is the main reason why it’s so important that you know how to prevent injuries before they “bench” you.

In today’s post I want to share with you some nuggets of workout wisdom that I’ve collected over the years - because the last thing that anyone needs is a workout-related injury.

Preventing Injuries While Working Out, Part 1

Like I always say: prevention is always better than the cure!

What should you do before starting an exercise program?

You may think that talking to a physician before exercising is silly, but it isn’t. It is actually the smart thing to do especially if you have a chronic condition like diabetes or high blood pressure.

Having high LDL or “bad cholesterol” can also be a risk factor, so do not start any weight loss program abruptly without first checking with your doctor.

Your doctor can make a full assessment of your current medical state and he will weigh the risks involved. If your doctor doesn’t approve of a particular diet or exercise program, don’t feel bad – the risk is probably higher than perceived benefits.

Often, males and females older than 44 years old are monitored closely by doctors when they start a new exercise routine because the risk for stroke and heart attack increases significantly in the late forties and early fifties. If you are in your fifties now, there is also a risk of fractures, which are painful and take a long time to heal.

How can you condition your body before exercising?

Though some experts are still debating about warm up and cool down exercises, I personally recommend them because in my experience, they make me feel good and they make me more flexible during a workout.

What is a warm up exercise?

A warm up exercise is a short, gentle exercise that helps prepare your muscles and joints for the main workout. When a person is not working out, his muscles are often stiff and are not ready for any repetitive movements.

Warming up eliminates this stiffness and also helps ease your heart into “workout mode” by steadily raising your heart rate until it is fully ready to accommodate the aerobic demand of exercise.

The most common way of warming up before a full workout is by performing low-impact cardio like riding an indoor cycle or walking on a treadmill.

You should be sufficiently ready for your main workout after 10-15 minutes of warm up exercises. If you do not have access to an indoor cycle or treadmill, you can still warm up by performing jumping jacks or by using a skipping rope.

What is a cool down exercise?

Cool down exercises are done to gradually taper the activity of the heart and your muscles.

When you perform cool down exercises, post-workout muscle soreness can be reduced by up to 50%! The well-loved way of cooling down is by performing different stretching exercises.

You can take inspiration from yoga as many yoga poses are excellent for cooling down. If you can invite a friend or family member to attend yoga class with you, you will learn a lot from seasoned yoga practitioners and you can use this knowledge to improve your workouts and prevent injuries.

What type of exercises should I perform to avoid injury?

Muscle and joint overuse can stop you in your tracks so it would be best to vary your exercises to ensure that specific muscle groups are well-rested before you start exercising them again. If you perform the same set of exercises on a daily basis, you can damage your muscles and joints easily.

Also: don’t force your body to work out.

Some people have trouble areas in their bodies such as their hands, wrists, knees, etc. If you have trouble areas yourself, it’s important that you pay attention to these injury-prone areas and avoid straining them while exercising. This applies most especially to individuals who have chronic conditions such as arthritis and inflamed joints.

I’ll see you again in the continuation of this series. Stay tuned!
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