Exercise is essential for proper body weight, muscle tonicity and body functioning. Although when we exercise we are putting stress on the body, to build muscle, burn calories, and burn fat. Unlike mental stress, physical stress is good to keep the body maintaining proper function. However, there are always risks of injury when exercising. By following the basic principles of exercise you can avoid injury, stay healthy and active.
A warm up is essential to any type of workout. Professional and amateur athletes alike include a warm up in their exercise routines, training and performances. By not including a warm up with your activity you are more likely to injure part of your body due to incorrect movements. Proper warm ups are necessary to decrease stiff muscles, increase flexibility, and prepare mentally and physically for exercise. Warm ups generally last 5-10 minutes and should include gentle exercise and stretching. It is important to warm up the entire body and not just 1 or 2 muscle groups.
Just like a warm up, a cool down is an essential part of an exercise routine. The cool down should be the best part of your work out because you know you are done and you can see what you have accomplished. However often times people skip this part of their workout because they don’t plan for it within their time frame or they overexert themselves during their exercise and they don’t have enough energy left to complete a cool down.
Either way cooling down is essential for the body’s recovery. When you all of a sudden halt an exercise the blood that has been pumping throughout the body begins to pool in the lowest area of the body, which is the legs. This pooling effect can cause dizziness and fainting. In addition the cool down allows for the heart rate and respiration to return to normal, the muscles can discard unwanted lactic acid produced during exercise and the muscles have time to repair and recover. A cool down, just like a warm up should be 5-10 minutes. Cool down by slowing down the activity that you were doing but keep moving. Cool off by sipping water and do some stretching to relax the body and increase flexibility.
When most people exercise they have the mindset of “No pain, no gain!” This is incorrect because you can push yourself beyond your physical limitations. Normally physical pain is your body’s way of telling you something is wrong. If you start to feel discomfort stop the exercise you were doing. Does the pain subside once the activity has ceased? If so then you can continue to exercise. If not see your physician for possible injuries. When the body fatigues, we tend to stop using proper form, which leaves our muscles, tendons and ligaments exposed to injuries. Overtime you will build up endurance and strength to exercise longer and go further.
By including these techniques into your exercise program you can reduce the risk of injury however there is still a risk. If you have been previously injured than you are more likely to be re-injured or receive a new injury. Proper maintenance and physical therapy are required to reeducate and repair injuries. Also remember to include an appropriate recovery time. Consequent days in a row of training can increase the likelihood of injury. Insert less intense days of exercise or days off within your exercise routine. This will give your body the appropriate amount of time to rest and recover to be able to rebuild and perform better at your next workout.
Sarah Labdar, “Avoid the Risk of Injury”, Everyday Health