9 Tips to Avoid Workout-Related Injuries
Working out and getting into shape takes dedication and drive, but when you are suffering from workout-related injuries, it can bring your fitness efforts to a screeching halt! We have 9 tips that’ll help you prevent injuries from working out and let you keep living your best life.
It’s one thing to start going to the gym if you’ve never been much of a workout person, and another to come back after an injury. Injuries change the way you do things. They can bring your routine to a complete halt and make you adjust your workouts as you get back into a workout groove, too.
Thankfully, there are ways to prevent workout-related injuries in order to keep you on track towards your fitness goals. With a little bit of focus here and some extra patience there, you can significantly lower your risk of injury in the gym.
This makes you more confident in your movements and increases your overall strength. When you’re not as worried about injuries, you’re better able to channel your efforts into things like mind to muscle connection and dynamic movements.
For more on how to prevent injury during exercise, check out the tips below.
1. Make Time to Warm-up
If you don’t pay much attention to your warm-ups right now, it’s time to start showing up at the gym a little earlier. Preventing an injury can be as simple as making time to warm-up before you get into the real part of your workout.
You can’t expect to walk into the gym, go straight to the squat rack, and start lifting your working weight. Same goes for the bench press, the free weights, anything on the cables, or even cardio equipment.
You have to work your way up from your resting heart rate into something a little stronger, something within your exercise range. This is called your working heart rate. It’s always better to ease into it than to shock your heart into such a fast-paced beat.
2. Stretch, Stretch, Stretch
Just as you have to make time to warm-up, you should focus on the cool-down portion of your workout, too. This helps your body ease back into a resting rate.
It slows down your breathing and relaxes the muscles. Stretching starts to release the tension created by heavy lifting and other challenging motions like resistance workouts or high-intensity cardio sessions. This helps the recovery process significantly while reducing the risk of a gym injury.
3. Recover Right Away
When you workout, you’re creating small tears in the muscle fibers of whichever body part you targeted that day. Recovery begins the moment your workout is over. It goes hand in hand with stretching, but there’s more to the process than a few simple, steady motions.
You have to eat a full, healthy meal as soon as possible. The more protein, the better, as this supports the recovery process conducted by satellite cells in the body. Healthy fats and good carbs also help.
Pack protein powder in your gym bag, grab a fresh smoothie on the way out of the gym or bring your meal prep container with you. Whatever you do, make sure you eat something meant to support the recovery process.
Also, remember to stay hydrated and consider investing in recovery-focused supplements. Things like glutamine and creatine can further enhance the rebuilding process your muscles undergo after a workout.
4. Fuel Your Body Properly
There’s value in recovering after a workout, and then there’s the importance of fueling your body properly before you lift a finger. You can’t have a good workout on empty stomach.
In this case, the body is running on fumes. You leave yourself more prone to an injury because it takes more effort to complete your workout.
On the other hand, it’s not the best idea to eat a huge meal the walk right into the gym, either. Your best bet to fuel up and prevent an injury without going overboard is to have a light, high-energy snack. Some options include:
- a handful of trail mix
- a banana with peanut butter
- a peanut butter sandwich
- fresh fruit
Don’t mistake pre-workout powder for an actual pre-work meal. Pre-workout powder gives you a burst of energy in concentrated form to get a better pump. But, you still need to eat something to get the best results.
5. Take a Day off
Sometimes, the best workout results – and the safest way to prevent an injury – happen by taking a day off. It’s never a good idea to train a sore muscle.
This goes for athletes, newbie gym-goers, and everyone in between. You have to let the body rest and make a full recovery. Such decisions may set your routine back a day or two, but it’s much better for this to happen than to end up taking weeks off due to an injury.
6. Watch Your Form
What’s more careless than overworking your body day in and day out? Pushing yourself too hard in each workout. If you can’t maintain integrity in your motions at a certain weight/resistance level, reduce the intensity.
Lift at a lower weight or make the resistance less intense. This may feel like a defeat, but it’s actually one of the best things you can do to protect your body.
All it takes is one bad lift to cause a really bad injury. For example, bad form on a squat can easily lead to a knee injury from working out. Similarly, you can get a shoulder injury from working out if you set your expectations too high for pulldowns or seated rows.
If you never had someone teach you good form, it’s time to get a trainer. He or she can show you what all the right gym motions look and feel like. If it’s too late and you’re already feeling a bit of pain, you need to learn more about available injury recovery options.
7. Get a Spotter
Your trainer is your go-to person for working on your form and more. They can also help you create new workouts and offer you a spot when you’re trying to lift heavier.
A spotter is someone who supports you in your motions. This is why you see people stand behind one another while doing squats or touching a person’s back as they do pulldowns. They’re there to help you bail or finish the motion when something is too heavy as well as to better activate your muscles.
Always have a spotter with you when lifting heavy. Bring a gym buddy with you or ask a stranger working out beside you if they don’t mind spotting for a second.
8. Don’t Rush Your Workout
Whether you’re working out alone or with a gym partner, you need to take your time. Rushing through the motions is another way you make yourself prone to injury.
This compromises your motions. Even if you know what good form is, going too fast will hinder how well you perform. It overworks the muscles and can lead to a pull or a tear somewhere on your body.
9. Listen to Your Body
At the end of the day, preventing workout-related injuries is just like anything else in the gym: you have to listen to your own body. Everyone operates differently.
Yes, there are certain rules and best practices to help you get the most out of each workout. But ultimately, it’s up to you to put in the work. You have to know when to push yourself beyond your limits and when to back off.
How to Treat Workout-Related Injuries
The better you get at listening to your body and using the other tips on injury prevention, the less you have to worry about workout-related injuries. Sometimes, though, an injury can still happen to you.
In such cases, you have to shift your way of thinking from prevention into recovery. You really have to lay off and take it easy, not to mention be super patient as you get better.
Recovery is possible, though, and so is getting stronger than you’ve ever been before. This goes for both mind and body. For more health tips and tricks, click here.