They say that exercise is the best medicine. However, taking the correct dose, at the right time following proper instruction is imperative.
Regardless of our age, background, or fitness level most of us have experienced an exercise related injury. Over half of those who start an exercise program quit within six months, most due to injury. Understanding some basic guidelines can help to avoid exercise related injuries and allow you to continue on with your exercise program.
- If you have not exercised in many months, start slowly and set realistic expectations.
- Start every work out with a proper warm-up. Warming up your muscles and increasing your heart rate slowly raises your body temperature and gets the blood flowing into your muscles.
- Finish every workout with a cool- down period to get your heart rate back down. Include stretching.
- Ensure correct posture and form at all times. Improper form is the number one cause of exercise related injuries.
- Exercising with an illness is never appropriate. If you have a minor cold and have the energy to exercise, continue to do so at a reduced intensity level.
- The most obvious symptom of an injury is pain. Listen to your body and stop if what you are doing is causing pain. Once your body feels pain, the injury is already significant. Don’t exercise through pain. “No Pain, No Gain” is truly a myth. Tenderness or pain on one side of the body often indicates that you have an injury and are not dealing with typical muscle soreness.
- Allow for recovery before you work the same muscle group.
- Exercise consistently. Occasional exercise is not as beneficial as regular exercise.
- Understand the signs and symptoms of overtraining. These include an increased resting heart rate, decrease in motivation, energy, performance, appetite, moodiness, agitation, anxiety, and inability to get restful sleep.
- If you do get injured, let the injured area heal, and find ways to modify your exercise program so that you can continue to benefit.
The best way to ensure a safe, consistent and effective exercise regimen is to invest in a qualified experienced personal trainer. They should create a customized exercise program, ensure proper intensity and form and keep you consistent. Personal trainers can be invaluable when it comes to rehabilitation and can create a plan to support injury recovery. While not medical professionals, personal trainers are the appropriate next step after rehabilitation.
Exercising safely and avoiding injury eliminates frustration and allows you to stay on your path to increased good health.