8 tips to help you avoid muscle injuries

October 17, 2014

There's nothing like a sunny day to inspire you to get up and be active.  Before you begin your workout, it's a good idea to limber up to help you avoid injury. Here are eight great ways to get you ready.

8 tips to help you avoid muscle injuries

It goes without saying that a good workout makes you feel great,  boosts your energy and enhances mental alertness. So you can continue to reap the benefits of your favourite sport, here are eight simple tips to help you avoid muscle injury.

1. Have the right equipment

 Whatever your sport, make sure that your equipment is good quality and well-suited for the kind of movements you’ll be doing. For example, using low-quality running shoes while running could lead to injuries. In turn, that might lead to prolonged time off work and away from your favourite activities.

  • Quality equipment doesn't always mean the most expensive. Sometimes brand names can inflate prices, so it's good to shop around for gear that best suits your needs and budget.

2. Choose your workout wisely

Your workout should be tailored to your fitness level and lifestyle. Avoid overtraining and pay attention to your movements. One common mistake is to not use your leg strength when you lift weights, which increases the risk of back injury.

  • If you're attempting a new exercise, ask for help first to ensure you're doing it correctly. The whole point of working out is to improve your health, not put you out of commission for an injury that could have been avoided.

3. Stay hydrated

Drinking a lot of water is essential for the replacement of fluids lost during exercise. These fluids carry dissolved minerals and allow for better muscle function.

  • Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink liquids, as thirst is a sign that you’re already dehydrated.
  • Avoid fruit drinks, because they stay longer in the stomach and will kick your pancreas into overdrive by forcing it to dump insulin into your blood stream.
  • Go easy on caffeine (coffee, soft drinks and energy drinks), as they accelerate dehydration and can cause tremors or stomach aches.

4. Stretch regularly

Flexible muscles are injured less frequently than stiff muscles. Integrate stretching into your routine a few times a week in order to strengthen your muscles and keep them flexible.

  • Stretching will also increase your range of motion and will give your mind a chance to gear up for your workout.

5. Always warm-up

Warming up is very important in injury prevention, as it allows the body to adapt to physical exertion and helps to increase blood circulation and flexibility.

  • Increase the intensity gradually and avoid sudden changes from low to high exertion. Even if you've been working out for years and are used to the exercises, warming up is a must as your abilities change with age.

6. Eat wisely

 Fill up on carbohydrates before exercising to give your muscles enough energy for your workout.

  • Avoid fats, which take longer to digest and deliver energy.
  • Don’t exercise right after eating. Let two or three hours pass following a big meal before you start to work out.

7. Get plenty of rest

Fatigue and a lack of concentration are often responsible for sports injuries. Be sure to get enough rest so your body and mind can fully recover.

  • If you become fatigued and your concentration falters, your body will weaken and you will increase the risk for injury. Working out isn't just about exercising the body, it's also about working out your brain so both can work together in harmony.

8. Be attentive to your body

Listening to your body is the best way to prevent muscle injuries. It’s common sense: don’t stretch a painful muscle, rest if you have cramping and let any injuries heal properly before resuming your training.

  • While some people simply ignore their pain and continue to work through it, believing it will make them tougher, pain is your body telling you to stop.
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