Exercise safely to avoid injuries!
It’s the New Year, and with that comes many New Year’s resolutions – often involving exercise. So this year, don’t let your resolutions go flat because of an injury!
1 – ALWAYS WARM UP! Whether you’re lifting weights or doing a cardio program, make sure that you do a warm up first. This gets the blood flowing and can prevent injury.
2 – STRETCH! Research shows that it doesn’t matter when you stretch, and in some cases that it doesn’t even prevent injury. However, if your muscles are so tight that they are pulling the joint out of its proper alignment (e.g.: your shoulders are rounded forward, your hamstrings pulling on your back) when you do repetitive activity, the faulty mechanics will cause pain. Make sure that you have at least two stretching days scheduled in your workout.
3 – HAVE GOOD CORE STRENGTH! If your core is strong, your arms and legs will be stronger. Better yet, find a place that will do functional assessments to see where your weak points are so that you can maximize your mobility – then maximize your strength.
4 – HAVE GOOD LIFTING TECHNIQUES! Watch a child pick up something from the floor – s/he squats down, and picks it up. ..not hinging from the waist.
5 – SHOULDERS!! A quick place to easily injure, especially if you don’t have good flexibility! When lifting over your head, make sure that your arms are turned out (think military press). This comes into play more when you are doing front/lateral raises; you don’t want to go above having your arms straight out, unless the arm is rotated so the thumb is up. This can cause pinching in the shoulder – then pain and more problems. When doing chest presses and flies, don’t let your elbows go past your shoulders (think bouncing a ball off your chest). This can cause an overstretch of the tendons – and not any significant strength gain.
6 – Most of all LISTEN TO YOUR BODY! Muscle fatigue is ok. Muscle soreness following exercise is ok. Any joint pain during exercise is not ok. If you are in a group exercise program or working with a trainer – still remember that. No matter what they say, if it’s pain, stop. Pushing to fatigue and getting that last rep is fine – as long as it isn’t painful and doesn’t compromise your form. That’s when you’ll have injury.
There are many places in our area that provide exercises. If you have any more questions about how to prevent injury, or want some help with a specific condition, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.