You chose to make fitness a part of your lifestyle. It is routine. Like brushing your teeth, exercising is a priority. You are seeing and feeling results; losing inches, clothes are getting looser; feeling positive from the endorphins and rewards of a regular fitness regimen, then…… BOOM!
You are getting little, acute injuries, constantly sore, feeling weaker rather than stronger.
What is happening?
Simply put, you need to be proactive to prevent injuries and properly care for yourself now that you are exercising regularly.
Injury prevention is a conscious effort to avoid injuries. It is a component of public health and safety to improve overall quality of life. So how do you do it? Here are a few guidelines:
Allow 8 to 10 minutes for gradually warming up. Include movement rehearsal. Practice what you will be doing vigorously in a milder, less intense manner.
Time and Intensity
Gradually increase time and/or intensity of your workouts. Avoid huge spikes in intensity/duration of cardio or strength training.
Allow 5 to 10 minutes of stretching at the end of your workout. Stretching prevents injuries and helps you heal faster when injuries occur. When muscles are more elastic, they respond faster to protect against injury. Most injuries occur when the body part is pulled beyond its normal range of motion. The end result being a muscle pull, tear, or worst case scenario, a separation from the bone. Regular stretching helps the body increase range of motion and respond quicker when overstretched.
Vary your workout routine. Run, walk, stairs, cycle. Crosstraining prevents injuries by avoiding repetitive stress on joints, and it helps avert exercise plateaus.
Fuel your body at least 2 hours before you exercise with clean, healthy, whole foods. Lean proteins, complex carbohydrates, unsalted nuts, green, leafy vegetables, and dark berries are great choices. Avoid “crash” dieting. It makes you weak, and more prone to acute injury.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
Be sure you are well hydrated. Drink at least 16 oz. of water prior to your exercise session. For each pound lost post-exercise, replenish with 1 oz. of water per pound of weight (water weight) lost.
Be sure to have at least one full day of rest within a week. In addition, when strength training, allow muscles worked to rest the following day.
Check in with yourself and listen to your body. Notice and do not ignore changes in your mind and body. Signs of overtraining include: constant soreness, fatigue, decrease in strength/endurance gains, decrease in cardiovascular endurance, lack of coordination.
Schedule at least 6 to 8 hours of sleep each night. Sleep allows the body to relax and recover. Do not sacrifice your sleep. It is as important as eating healthy, staying hydrated, and exercising.
I know, it seems like common sense, but the reality is, sometimes we get so focused, we neglect the prevention. If you have any questions, be sure to share in the comments.
And of course, for any chronic injuries, always consult a doctor.