Injuries are frightening for athletes. They can sideline anyone from setting goals and seeing results with their unexpected pain. However, it’s not the worst thing that can happen. Injuries are also learning opportunities that help us get to know our bodies better.
It’s understandable that you’d want to avoid them anyway, though. Today, we’re looking into the best ways to prevent hurting yourself at the gym, as well as some ways to treat a sore spot if it does happen.
Injury Prevention: The Basics
Anyone who’s at the beginning of their fitness journey needs to be extra careful. That way, you can build a solid foundation and prevent present and future injuries. Follow the simple guidelines to ensure you’re doing it right from day one.
Get a Coach
Starting an exercise program can be overwhelming, and a lot of people don’t know how to start. So, a coach or a personal trainer may be necessary for the first few workout sessions to show you the ropes.
Always Do a Warmup
It’s never smart to work on cold muscles. A good warmup will increase your core temperature, send blood to your muscles, and mentally prepare you for the hard work ahead.
Especially if you’re 100% new to exercise, you’ll need to be patient and set realistic goals. Too much too soon is the number one reason for injuries. Instead, gradually increase the length and intensity of your workouts.
Get Proper Gear
Many injuries happen when people work out in unsupportive, worn-out shoes. Get a select pair for your exercise and make sure they fit your foot.
Add Core Work
The best way to prevent injuries is by having a fit, solid body. Your core does most of the stabilizing, so adding planks to your workout makes you much less prone to hurting yourself.
Intermediate to Advanced: Useful Tips
You may have already been training for a while and incorporating all the advice from above. However, your more intense routine requires more consideration for maximum safety.
You already know that stretching post-workout is a must. Do you stretch in your downtime, though? If you spend a few minutes every day doing simple stretches, it will ease the pressure from your workouts. Besides, if you sit a lot, you’ll double the bonus.
Yoga isn’t for everyone, but all exercisers should introduce some form of stretching, even on rest days.
Don’t Lift Too Heavy
Weightlifting, by itself, is one of the highest forms of exercise for your body. It’s also the one that leads to most injuries, and most often, it happens because people try to lift too heavy a weight with poor posture.
There’s nothing wrong with pushing your PR higher, but you need to be sure that your posture is perfect before you do so. Make sure that you perform clean reps before you add plates and stay close to the mirror.
After an Injury
If you do get injured, it doesn’t mean that you have to spend months out of the gym and lose all your effort. There are simple ways to ensure your injury is as painless and as consequence-less as possible.
Let’s take a look at the three best things you can do to recover as soon as possible. Plus, if you got hurt because of a bad piece of equipment, pop over to these guys, and they’ll ensure you get compensation.
Take Days Off
Unfortunately, this is the vital first step in healing an injury. It will allow your muscles to repair and rebuild. Take this time to stretch, work on your cardio, and recover mentally to come back to the gym stronger and ready to work hard.
Treating the Injury
If you got hurt, but your injury is not severe enough to ask for physical therapy, the RICE method could be what you need. RICE stands for:
- R – rest
- I – ice, to lessen swelling and inflammation
- C – compression, again, to reduce swelling
- E – elevate the injured body part
This simple method does wonders for hurt muscles.
Do More With Less
Once you return to the gym, you can’t come back to your usual routine right away. It will only hurt your muscles even more. Instead, you need to rebuild your strength and stamina.
You can do so by performing more reps with lighter weights. Besides, increasing volume with lower weight doesn’t compromise your gains potential.
The Bottom Line
Injuries are a tough, but sometimes an unavoidable part of being an exerciser. Luckily, with the methods above, you can do a lot to prevent them.
To reiterate, remember to listen to your body and keep your trouble spots in mind. Fuel your muscles and see them grow. If you do get injured, don’t despair. You’ll be back in no time.