It’s a new year, and a new you. With the new year comes many resolutions for a happier, healthier life. And with all those dietary and exercise changes comes a higher risk of hurting yourself at the gym or on the track. No matter what your fitness level is, here are some common workout injuries and how to avoid them.
What are the most common workout injuries?
There are countless ways you can hurt yourself while exercising. The most common injuries are:
- Pulled muscle or strained muscle – happens when your muscle is overused, overstrained or torn. It usually happens when you work your muscle too hard – or if you work it improperly.
- Sprained ankle – this is when the ligaments around your ankle strain or tear, but there’s no broken bone
- Shoulder injury – A lot of exercises can aggravate your shoulders, which is why shoulder injuries are so common.
- Knee injuries – The same goes for your knees.
- Shin splint – This is pain felt along the inner edge of your shin bone. It often happens from running too much or running improperly.
- Tendinitis – Inflammation in or around your tendons. It usually happens from overuse.
- Wrist sprain or dislocation – This is a common injury when lifting heavy weights.
How do you avoid injuries while working out?
There are many steps you can take to keep the pain away.
This is important: If you’re a woman and you’re older than 55, check with your doctor before you start an exercise regimen. It’s the same for any man who’s older than 45.
Here’s what you need to do to lower your risk of injury:
- Warm up – Every workout should start with a good warmup. It gets your body ready by slowly increasing your heart rate and loosening up your muscles and joints.
- Cool down – This is important after you work out to bring your heart rate down slowly. Walking for five or 10 minutes after your workout is an ideal way to cool down.
- Stretch – You should stretch before and after your workouts to help increase flexibility and prevent injury. Your stretches should happen after your warmup and after your cool down.
- Don’t overdo it – Start slowly and work your way up in intensity. Don’t burn yourself out too fast or push yourself too hard. The more you work out, the better you will get, the more athletic you will become, and then you can increase the intensity, duration and frequency of your workouts.
- Cross-train – Don’t do the same workouts day in and day out. Change things up a bit, and do so often. Working the same muscle groups can lead to injuries from overuse. Try running on the first day, lifting weights on the second day and swimming or cycling on the third day.
- Be careful – You don’t have to hurt yourself to get fit. Always stop before it hurts. If you’re hurting, then rest for a day.
- Fuel your body – Eat well, avoid processed foods, and drink plenty of water. You should drink 17-20 ounces of water two-three hours before your workout, another eight ounces about a half hour before you exercise, and eight ounces every 10-20 minutes while you’re working out.
Here’s to the best you you can be!