Tips for Avoiding Exercise-Induced Injuries

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Tips for Avoiding Exercise-Induced Injuries

female stretching in winter before exercise

It’s the New Year, and you may be one of many who have placed exercising at the top of their New Year’s resolution list. Exercise should be a part of everyone’s daily routine. But if not done properly, injuries could sideline your resolution goals before you get started.

Workout injuries can happen to anyone regardless of fitness level. The most common ailments include:

  • Pulled or strained muscle
  • Sprained ankle
  • Shoulder injury
  • Knee injury
  • Shin splints
  • Tendonitis
  • Wrist pain

Follow these guidelines to help reduce your chances of injury:

  1. See a doctor. If you’ve never exercised before or haven’t done so in some time, schedule a wellness exam with your doctor to discuss your exercise goals and strategies.
  2. Don’t skip the warm-up and cool-down periods. Taking time before your workout to gradually increase your heart rate and loosen joints and muscles is important. Conversely, allowing time after to slowly bring your heart rate to normal is also necessary.
  3. Take things slowly. Don’t push yourself too hard when you first begin exercising. Gradually build the workout’s intensity, duration and frequency.
  4. Vary your workout. Repeating the same exercises and muscle movements can lead to repetitive-use injuries like shin splints and tendinitis. Choose a cardiovascular exercise (walking) the first day, weight-bearing exercises on day two, followed by a different cardio-focused routine (swimming) on day three.
  5. Listen to your body. The “no pain no gain” philosophy can lead to injury. You can get fit without feeling pain, so avoid pushing yourself too far. Rest if you do.
  6. Hydrate. Drink plenty of water before, during and after your workout.
  7. Rest. Giving your body a chance to recover between workouts helps prevent injury.

Sometimes injuries occur even when you’re careful. If you get injured, follow the RICE method to prevent your injury from worsening:

R – Rest the injury.

I – Ice the injured area to lessen pain and inflammation.

C – Apply a compression bandage to minimize swelling.

E – Elevate the injured area if possible to reduce swelling.