Exercise is great for your body, but if you don’t safeguard yourself, injury can happen.
There’s no worse scenario than embarking on a well-meaning fitness routine and injuring yourself in the process. Learn preventive measures to keep yourself and your workouts injury and accident free.
Always warm up and stretch
You may as well make this your workout mantra. Getting your body limber prior to exercise is critical. Exercising ‘cold’ without stretching your limbs is a sure fire way to hurt yourself. Going from a standstill to a faster pace puts undue stress on your muscles.
Plan to spend at least 10 minutes on this activity which can include walking or lightly jogging. You are trying to prepare your muscles for more intense activity ahead. Jog in place, do jumping jacks or simply do some stretching exercises.
After a workout, cool down
When you’re ready to stop exercising, give your body the final five minutes to a ‘cool down.’ It’s essentially the same as your warm up, but the cool down’s purpose is to prevent muscle soreness.
Consult a physician if you’re pregnant and still plan to exercise
Pregnancy comes with many adjustments to the body, and exercise is one of them. It’s best to talk with your healthcare practitioner about the risks (if any) and benefits of maintaining your exercise routine when you’re expecting.
Consider the type of exercise you’ll be undertaking and discuss with your doctor if there are alternatives that will keep you safe. Every individual is different, just as every pregnancy is different.
Give your body a break
Your body needs a rest day a few times a week from the stress of exercise. Plan for at least two recovery days per week. And if you have injured yourself, don’t try to ‘work through’ the pain. Your body will need more rest.
When to recognise it’s time to stop
Your body will signal that it needs a break. Pay heed to these symptoms: pain in the chest or jaw, overt breathlessness, irregular heartbeat and extreme thirst. Seek medical assistance if the pain or symptoms become severe.
The exercises to avoid
Some techniques can put strain and stress on your body before you even realise it’s happened. These include routines that involve twisting, some versions of sit ups, double leg raises, toe touches whilst standing and anything that includes holding a weight for an extended period of time. It’s best to ask your fitness professional at your gym about alternatives to these techniques.
Drink water before, during and after
It’s important to drink water several hours before your workout to avoid fatigue and muscle cramps. If it’s warm outside where you’re working out, drinking water periodically during your workout will replace fluids lost and prevent heat stroke. Finally, a post-workout guzzle keeps replenishing those fluids and keeps you hydrated.
Being safe in the gym and on the equipment
Here’s another place where your fitness professional, such as a trainer, can come in handy. If you’re a newbie to the gym scene, you probably are clueless how to properly use the equipment. Being well-versed in using the gym machines can make the difference between getting a great workout and hurting yourself. Reduce your risk by having the trainer show you what to do.
Your clothing should be loose enough to allow for circulation and perspiration wicking. Gym shoes should fit well and not be worn down on the heels. If your clothes and shoes have seen better days, it’s wise to invest in new threads (plus, it will make your workouts more inspiring!).
There are plenty more reasons to be safe rather than sorry when it comes to working out. If you have any questions or concerns, always consult your physician or gym professional before embarking on a new fitness program.
At Warwick Women’s Workout, we’re dedicated to your health, nutrition, exercise and well-being. Contact Michelle Monks, Warwick Women’s Workout Gym Manager, about the variety of fitness options at our Perth gym. Contact us at (08) 9342 9028.