As one of the leading mixed martial arts coaches globally, Firas Zahabi said, if you are sore and getting injured, you aren’t doing it right.
However, injuries are prevalent with athletes and people who exercise. They are also inevitable, mainly because everyone focuses too much on the physical aspects of exercise and sports and ignores their mental training. They can get injured by training in the gym, cycling, using machines, or even while having fun on inexpensive hoverboards.
Every other gym or athletic training room has the words “Train hard” written on one of the walls; however, rarely do you see a place with “Train smart” as their motive.
Moreover, the weather, you have been training for years, or you are just starting your fitness regime or playing a sport, you need to pay special attention to avoiding injuries. Injuries can be devastating on both a physical and mental level. Not only do they prevent you from training, but they can also have a psychological effect and diminish your performance even after you have recovered.
Furthermore, as we get older, the risk of injuries and the time required for recovery also increase.
Therefore, today I will tell you eight useful tips that will help you stay safe from sports and exercise-related injuries. So, keep reading to learn more.
Don’t go at it alone
When you start a new sport or adopt a new training regime, you mustn’t go at it alone. You should consult some experts to understand the ins and out of the latest exercise plan so that you can train optimally without injuries.
First of all, you should consult your doctor; your primary physician can help you determine whether the exercise or sport you choose to start is suitable for you. They can help you figure out what kind of changes you can make to the training routine to compensate for any medical conditions or limitations that you may have.
Even if your doctor says that you are fit enough to start a particular exercise, there is still a chance of injuries; therefore, you should also consider consulting a trainer or coach. These professionals have specific information and experience with the kind of exercise or sport you want to start. They can guide you through the training to ensure that you are using proper technique and overexerting yourself.
Lastly, you must maintain a healthy and nutritious diet with any sport or exercise. You have the strength and dexterity to train properly without putting yourself at the risk of injuries. Several injuries like muscle cramps and pulled muscles happen because of insufficient hydration and improper diet.
Therefore, you should consider hiring the services of a nutritionist. A qualified nutritionist can construct a diet plan for you to get all the minerals and nutrients your body needs to stay strong and healthy as you train and exercise.
Therefore, make sure that you consult the relevant people before starting a new training program and not going at it alone.
Stretch and warm-up before you start training
If you start exercising immediately after staying sedentary, you are quite likely to get injured. Warms ups are crucial before exercises because they make your muscles ready for physical activity. If you don’t warm-up and jump straight into high-intensity training, not only do you put yourself at a higher risk of injury, but you also don’t get much from the workout.
For instance, if you go on a run without warming up and stretching, you will start feeling fatigued earlier. Moreover, you might feel heavy, slow, and less limber for the first mile. This is because your muscles aren’t ready, and they have to spend extra energy to run.
When you warm up before exercises, your muscles can contract and relax more efficiently, which reduces the risk of overstretching. The overall temperature of your body also increases when you warm up. This increases muscle elasticity, making you more agile and flexible, which enhances your speed and strength.
Before you start your light warm-up drills, you should also stretch your muscles and limbs. This can be very advantageous in preventing injuries, and it can also make your workouts more effective.
Stretching increases your flexibility, agility, and range of motion, decreasing chances of muscle soreness and overextension of ligaments. Furthermore, stretching also improves your blood flow and lymphatic flow, decreasing the buildup of lactic acid in your muscles, which ultimately allows you to train for longer, with a lower risk of injuries.
Ensure proper rest and recovery
Taking a proper amount of time for recovery after training is as important as warming up before it. The entire process of muscle development is incumbent upon taking a healthy amount of recovery time.
You see, when we work out, and our muscles feel sore, it is because several micro-tears are formed in them. Extra protein fills up these tears, and hence the muscles can grow and become stronger. However, this can take some time.
Recovery allows your muscles to repair themselves, and if you don’t take enough time to recover, you put yourself at a higher risk of injuries.
Now there are several ways to boost your recovery and optimize it. A popular method that is used by many athletes is cryotherapy. In cryotherapy, athletes take shock baths in ice-cold water. This makes that body think that it is about to experience hypothermia, and as a defense mechanism, more blood is pumped to your muscles and skin surface, which can help your recovery.
You can also try massage therapy to recover after extreme workouts. Massage therapy also improves your blood flow and aids in the evacuation of toxins from your muscles. Moreover, with the increased blood flow, more nutrients, especially proteins, can reach your muscles, which can aid in muscle building and recovery.
Therefore, make sure that you rest after your workouts, and recover as your coach or trainer suggests, especially when you start your training.
Wear proper workout or training attire
Another common reason for workout and especially sports-related injuries, is not wearing the proper gear and attire. For instance, if you are going for a run, you should be wearing proper running shoes, instead of some old sneakers. Similarly, it would help if you wrapped your wrists to get more stability and dexterity when lifting weights.
When it comes to sports, wearing the proper gear while training, playing, and competing is essential; otherwise, it’s not the question of if but when you will get injured. For instance, if you are training boxing, cardiovascular health, or as a sport to compete in, you can’t start hitting the heavy bag with your bare fists. That is a recipe for disaster, and there is no way that your hands are conditioned to punch the heavy bag without any gloves.
Therefore, you need to make sure that you have properly wrapped your hands and you are wearing training gloves before you decide to vent your frustration on the heavy bag.
Moreover, in sports like baseball, soccer, and football, you need to wear the proper gear; otherwise, you won’t protect yourself against injuries.
Therefore, before you start a new type of workout, or a new sport, head to a quality sports store and get all the equipment you require. You can ask the people who work, therefore different recommendations, so that you can figure out what type of gear is best for your next physical adventure.
Ensure that your training environment is safe
Though you can make an effort to train smart and avoid injuries, however, workout-related injuries are inevitable to some extent. Even if you are doing everything right yourself, an unsafe workout or training environment can cause injuries.
There are several ways in which you can make your training environment safer. However, the first and most important thing to do is join a decent gym with quality gear and equipment. Though the memberships to these gyms are maybe a little more expensive, you can be sure that they are well maintained, safe, and clean.
Similarly, if you start to play a new sport, don’t just practice in your backyard or the park. Join a proper training club that allows you to learn the sport with discipline in a safe and guided environment.
Furthermore, you should be responsible and try not to damage your training environment in any way that would make it less safe.
Cross-train to keep your workout exciting and safe
If you want to avoid injuries, you must have a healthy and safe training routine. Ideally, it would be best if you cross-trained so that your body’s same parts aren’t exerted every day. For instance, if you are doing heavy lifting every day, it can be detrimental to your body. Your muscles don’t get enough time to recover, and the risk of injuries will increase significantly.
However, suppose you cross-train and create a training regime that involves days of cardio training, endurance training, and light aerobic exercise days. In that case, you will be a lot safer from injuries, and you won’t get bored with your training either.
This will allow your muscles to get the rest they need, without missing a training day, and your overall health will also benefit from a more diverse training routine. Studies have shown that a diverse training regime can boost your metabolism, accelerate recovery, and rev-up fat burning as well.
Make other changes to your lifestyle as well
Though exercising or playing a sport is a healthy habit, both for your physical and mental health, it cannot be as effective on its own. It can even be detrimental to your health if you don’t maintain a healthy diet along with it.
The ideal diet for you will depend upon many factors. If you want to gain muscle mass, you need to take more protein. On the other hand, if you are trying to lose weight, you need to cut out carbs and fats.
Moreover, you should make sure that you are getting a healthy amount of nutrients and minerals so that your muscles can grow and stay strong. Your diet should also involve special post-workout meals so that your body can replenish the energy it has exerted.
You should also make sure that you drink enough water, normally, and during workouts. When you are working out, your body can get dehydrated. Most people think that drinking water alone can help rehydrate your body, but the fact is that it needs electrolytes and minerals as well. Therefore, a great way to ensure that you stay hydrated and energetic throughout your workout is to squeeze a lemon in your water or add some pink Himalayan salt to it.
Lastly, you need to make sure that you are also getting a healthy amount of sleep because sleep deprivation can make you fatigued and make your muscles more susceptible to injuries. Therefore, ensure that you are getting 6-8 hours of sleep every day.
Create a solid routine
If you are starting to work out or training a spot, you should maintain a healthy activity routine. When you follow a consistent cycle of training, your body can get used to it. And it peaks every day at the time you normally exercise.
When your body peaks, it gets ready for physical exercise, and you feel more active and energetic. Since your body is optimal for physical activity, the risk of injuries is quite less. Therefore, don’t skip days; even if you work out for only 20 minutes on your rest days, do some light exercises that get your heart pumping. This can be very beneficial in preventing injuries and doing your workouts and training more effectively.
An active lifestyle has several advantages; however, most of us don’t have to push ourselves physically during a normal day. Therefore, dedicating some time to exercise and physical activity is significant. Moreover, if you start playing sports, it can be even more beneficial, as it gets you physically active and has a lot of positive impacts on your mental health.
However, injuries are a common concern for many people trying to live a more active lifestyle. So, I hope that the tips mentioned in this post help you get more active without worrying about injuries all the time.