Preventing Injuries While Staying Active
Updated: Sep 30, 2019
Written by Joshua Munroe
Edited by Rebecca Payne & Brandon D'Orazio
If you’re starting a new fitness program or even if you’ve been exercising for years, it's important to know how to prevent getting injured while working out. Read on to learn what you can do before and during your workouts to reduce your risk of injury, and what steps to take to speed up recovery when injury does occur.
One way to reduce your risk of being injured before working out is to include prehab as part of your routine, which can help you to loosen up restricted movement. You might include foam rolling in your warm up. Suggested foam rolling techniques include positioning yourself to target areas of soft tissue by rolling back and forth (about 2-6 inches) from your core to your extremities, avoiding bones and joints. Consider easing into it by positioning yourself indirectly around areas that give you grief before targeting more specific spots. Roll tender areas slowly for about 30-60 seconds. Use your judgment and if it feels too intense, don’t be afraid to ease up. You can try starting with just 5-10 seconds of rolling per area, using lighter pressure, or resting for a day in between foam rolling sessions.
Hydration is another important factor in injury prevention, as water lubricates your joints and ligaments. Eight 8 ounce glasses of water a day is a reasonable goal to maintain healthy hydration but factors such as exercise intensity, your physical environment, and your current overall health should be taken into consideration when calculating how much water you need in a day. Other sources such as fruits and vegetables (watermelon, cucumber, and celery, for example) can contribute to your water intake, but it’s best to stick to regular H20 for the most part. As for drinks like coffee and soda, proceed with caution. Yes, they get water into your body, but be mindful that caffeine and refined sugar are also part of the deal here. If you don’t like the taste of water, you can try infusing it with berries, citrus fruits, or cucumber slices to make it easier to drink.
When working out, plan your workout carefully. Know the best equipment to use, and know your personal limits. Talk to your doctor or meet with a Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach before you begin a new routine (might we suggest a free Lifestyle Consultation at PEAKS Lifestyle?). You can also get a better understanding of your fitness levels by measuring your heart rate before and immediately after exercising. During workouts, be sure that you have the right equipment. For example, if you’re a wannabe runner, you’ll need to invest in quality running shoes to help prevent hip, knee, back, and foot problems.
Working out consistently is very important for your health, but you also need to know when to take a break. Signs that it’s time to slow down include fatigue, loss of motivation to work out, and soreness that has lasted longer than usual. This doesn’t mean you have to stop working out altogether for a prolonged period, but give serious consideration to making modifications to your usual program. When going back to your regular routine, make sure that you don't start with intense exercises even if you’re feeling super motivated to get back at it. Better to get back into it slow and steady than to dive in and get completely derailed by aggravating the original injury.
Unfortunately, even with all the preparation in the world, injuries can still happen, and when they do, it’s important not to ignore them. Pain is your body’s way of signalling that something is wrong. Easing up on your usual activities might be all you need, but don’t be afraid to ask for help. Touch base with your doctor, or consider meeting with a Chiropractor, Registered Massage Therapist, or Physiotherapist to discuss a treatment plan.
We hope these tips help you stay safe and injury-free! To learn more, check out our sources here:
Tips not to get injured https://www.health.harvard.edu/pain/10-tips-to-prevent-injuries-when-you-exercise