Nobody wants to have to spend weeks of their life being bed bound or unable to exercise due to injury. Then there’s the hassle and cost of heading to a physiotherapist once or twice a week to help your recovery and make sure you don’t get injured again. But what if there was a way to avoid all of this? Well, there is. You simply don’t get injured in the first place. Now, this may sound like an obvious thing to say, but that’s because it is. With a bit of patience, preparation, and routine, you can drastically lessen your chances of injury at the gym. Below are three things that you should keep in mind if you want to avoid being on first name terms with your local physio.
The very first thing you should do before any sort of exercise is a thorough warm up. Nine times out of ten, if someone has injured themselves in the gym it is because they didn’t warm up properly (or tried to perform an incredible feat of strength that people twice their size would struggle to complete). You wouldn’t start your car on a freezing cold day and expect it to drive well on full throttle, tyres screaming around the corners. Likewise, your body cannot perform without being eased into the process. Five or ten minutes on a piece of cardio machinery, slowly ramping up the speed, should get your heart and muscles suitably prepared for your workout.
Stretching before your main workout, but after your warm up, is important to ensure that your muscles are ready to perform. However, you shouldn’t spend too long on stretching at this stage, as you don’t your body to cool down again. The best time to do a thorough and deep stretching session is immediately after you’ve finished your workout. Not only will you be able to stretch further and help your body to become more supple, but you will also decrease the amount of aching you feel in your muscles the next day. Stretching also be used in conjunction with a foam roller to really help smooth those muscles out and keep them healthy.
Not only should you ensure that you are wearing the correct footwear for your activities, but you should ensure that you are investing in quality. Many people simply wear running shoes for all their activities; however, this is not the most beneficial option. If you regularly use weights for strength training, it is recommended that you wear a shoe with a flat, hard sole. Running shoes do not provide the correct stability and support to be safe when lifting heavy weights, particularly if you squat and deadlift. Proper Olympic lifting shoes, or even Chuck Taylor’s, should be worn to keep your body safe. If you are running, you will need something that is compliant and will absorb the repeated impact as you run. A good insole like those found at biopods.com will work with your shoes to prevent excessive jarring to your ankle and knee joints.
Hopefully, these tips will be enough to keep you in the gym and away from the doctor’s office. Take the time to look after your body now, and it will thank you for years to come.