You may expect from me some secret tips on how to perfectly execute a squat, or a trick to do anything without getting hurt, but what I’m going to tell you is more straight forward than that. According to WebMD, many workout injuries can be avoided with common sense. By staying within one’s limits, most injuries can be avoided. Here are six tips to help people avoid the most common exercise-related injuries.
Knowing your body and understanding your personal limits will go a long way in reducing your risk of injury. Your body is unique and not accepting that fact, can lead to incredible pain. This is where comparison gets dangerous. Here’s an anecdote: I had my right shoulder rebuilt after my senior year in high school, and ever since then, I have been told by my doctor not to go past 90 degrees on the bench or on military press. Thus, I couldn’t touch my chest with the bar as I used to. As a result, I didn’t have the ability to bounce the bar and add a few extra pounds to my max. Other guys did, but if I did I would rip up my shoulder joint. Yet it is not enough to simply know your body. You must also heed its signals, as well. The biggest signal? Pain. Pain comes in several varieties. There is the familiar pain of stretching or lactic acid build up, but there is also sudden pain, sharp pain, and pain that can make you nauseous. Know what kind of pain is bad and stop there. There is no sense causing long term injury just to prove yourself.
Believe it or not, gender does have a lot to do with what kind of injuries you are prone to. For example, due to their unique physiology, men tend to pull hamstrings and women their quads. Make sure you understand the natural weaknesses of your body as a male or female and take necessary precautions. Men tend to excel at exercises that rely on strength and speed, more than flexibility or agility. Women do better with workouts focused on mobility in multiple directions. Explore this yourself to see what works best for you.
Use a Spotter
If you use heavy weight in your workout routines, and you truly want to force your body to grow, you are going to need to be pushing more weight than usual. That’s when you need a spotter, as a spotter ensures that you don’t crush yourself and that you return the weight safely to the rack. Always exercise with a partner. I can’t tell you how embarrassing it is to see someone drop in a squat rack or lay pinned under a barbell because they wanted to fly solo. Out of control weights cause the bulk of major fitness injuries.
Use a Personal Trainer
For a pure fitness guru, people should look to a personal trainer. They can be hired on an individual basis, or a local exercise class can be taken. This is especially helpful for people who do not know how to exercise safely, or want to pursue their potential in a controlled and monitored environment. A personal trainer can help you construct a workout that meets you where you are, and will most likely have a more down to earth opinion of you.
People age, but rarely do they accept it. Part of knowing yourself includes acting your age. A 50-year-old cannot exercise like a 25-year-old can. For example, as you age, you should progressively decrease the amount of weight you lift. At the same time, focus more on keeping up your mobility by doing plyometric routines that require less weight, but offer just as good of a workout.
Everyone knows they should warm up before exercising and ease their way into a routine. Yet, few people do it. The temptation to jump into a routine, without warming up, is strong due to time constraints, or the fact that you don’t want to be seen with less weight on the bar. Some people argue against stretching, claiming that evidence for it is inconclusive, but the evidence for injury when not warm is conclusive. Begin a routine gradually, easing your way into a full exercise program.
These six tips can help you avoid injuring yourself while exercising. Most suggestions can be boiled down to knowing yourself and seeking help when it is needed. By heeding this advice, you can avoid the most common workout injuries. In 2011, an estimated 17 million people were expected to suffer from an exercise-related injury. With these simple steps, that number could be greatly reduced. For more information on injury-specific prevention techniques check out this article from WebMD.
Author Bio: Zachary James writes for BoxFitUK.com, a boxing gear site for both the boxing and health enthusiast.