One of the biggest dampeners to your exercise routine, especially for the ones who are new to gym is getting an injury. First of all, it puts a break to your program because you need time to recover. Secondly, it puts you in a cautious frame of mind when you join the gym again and hence hampers your progress. In extreme cases, people prefer to stay away from the gym totally because they don’t want to risk an injury again.
As is the case in most situations, injuries can also be prevented if you follow a few simple guidelines. 5 main injury prevention tips are listed below:
1) Start of slowly: A lot of people join gyms in a bout of inspiration and carry the same enthusiasm in their first few sessions as well. Hence they end up exercising too much or increasing intensity to an unwarranted level. What we need to understand is that our body parts first need to get used to heightened physical activity especially the softer tissues. Various joints are also used to a certain range of movement that needs to be increased slowly. When this time is not provided, injuries can happen that can range from simple ones such as excessive soreness to complicated ones like slipped discs and dislocated joints. Hence it is advised that intensity of workouts should be increased gradually.
2) Proper Warm Up and Stretching: The importance of this principle simply cannot be over-emphasized. The purpose of a warm-up and stretching is two fold. Firstly, as the name suggests, it raises the body temperature and prepares it for more extensive activity. Secondly, it extends muscles and tendons so that when further exertion is provided, they are already prepared of it. Thus you are putting your body in great danger if you skip this part and straightaway move to high intensity exercises.
3) Regulating your diet based on progress: When one joins a gym or raises intensity of their workout, their energy requirements also change. The source of this energy is obviously food. Hence it is important that dietary requirements be kept in mind as you progress in your workouts. Regular strength training will invariably lead to increase in muscle mass and consequently an increase in your protein requirements. If these requirements are not met, muscle fatigue will happen that may lead to a muscle injury. Similarly, an increase in vitamins, minerals etc. should also made in your diet (which means eating more fruits and vegetables) so that food absorption in the body is much better.
4) Staying hydrated: A dehydrated body means that your tissues will become less elastic and hence prone to breakage/injury. Hence it is important that you keep drinking water during your workouts and rest of the day also. An intake of 8-10 glasses should suffice. In addition, consumption of tea, coffee and alcohol should be minimised as they have a diuretic effect.
5) Maintaining correct balance/posture: Some of the common injuries that happen while working out are back pain, neck strains, knee strains and elbow tendinitis. The main reason for this (especially the back problem) is improper lifting of weights due to which your lower back has to support your body. Hence it is important to learn the correct posture and balance of a workout from a certified fitness professional before you try out the exercise.
The main reason why we join a gym is to improve our health and fitness. Getting an injury from improper gym usage is totally counterproductive to its main aim and should be avoided as much as possible.