10 Tips to Avoid Workout Injuries

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As we enter March and Athletic Training Month, it is important to highlight the basic tips for working out in a safe and effective way. Whether you are continuing with your New Year’s resolution of getting into shape or already participate in sports and regular workouts, understanding the ways to avoid athletic injury is crucial. At Greene County Medical Center, we want to make sure that you and your loved ones avoid the most common fitness injuries by taking these simple and necessary steps:

1. Check the weather. Dressing according to the weather will help you avoid hypothermia or overheating and dehydration. It is important to appreciate the weather elements to help you choose the right workout routine for the day. Taking it easy in extreme heat and preparing for colder temperatures will help your body get the most out of your workout.

2. Select the right gear. Choose the right sportswear for your type of exercise or activity. Make sure to look after your equipment and change your shoes every six months or 500 miles when walking or running.

3. Warm up. It is extremely important to prepare your body for exercise through a warm-up period. By implementing 5-10 minutes of low-level aerobic exertion, you will get your blood flowing and warm up your muscles. This will help your body adjust to the pressure you will be putting it through in your exercise.

4. Stretch. After your warm-up period, taking time to stretch will help your body get the most out of the workout routine. Stretching should always occur when your muscles are warm: after the warm-up and again after your full workout. Many people tend to experience injuries when stretching with cold muscles. You will get the most out of your stretching when following these tips:

  • Each stretch should be performed slowly and gently
  • Don’t bounce 
  • Hold stretches for about 30 seconds at a time 

5. Start Slow. If you have taken a break from exercising or sports and activities, remembering to ease yourself back into a routine. Dropping back to a lower level or lifting smaller weights initially will give your body a chance to gradually work its way back to where you were before.

6. Understand your pace. Know your level of fitness when working out. Injuries happen when you go too fast or train too hard. Working through your pain will cause further injury - designate at least one day of rest each week.

7. Variety. Overuse injuries typically occur when doing the same type of exercise repeatedly. The best exercises incorporate strength training and aerobic activity with stretching pre-warm up and post-workout.

8. Use the right techniques. Making sure you are getting your technique right will be critical. When using improper form, whether that be during weight lifting or running, you will be far more likely to have an injury.

9. Stay hydrated. It is crucial to replace the fluids you're sweating off throughout your workout. When you don’t make an effort to stay actively hydrated, your body could react with heat exhaustion or dehydration. A good tip to keep in mind is to drink two cups of water prior to your workout and another two cups post workout. It is also vital to your body to stay hydrated during exercise by taking sips of water every 15-20 minutes.

10. Be aware of your body. Whether you are a beginner or trying out a new workout routine, it is normal for you to feel sore about 12-24 hours post workout. However, if that pain persists after 24 hours or you have pain during or immediately after your routine, contact your doctor.

At Greene County Medical Center, we want you and your loved ones to stay active and healthy while taking the right steps to avoid fitness injuries. If you are a student athlete, take advantage of our free injury evaluations available to any injured athlete from the service area throughout the school year. We are also proud to partner with 21st Century Rehab of Nevada, IA, in delivering exceptional rehabilitation services. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to our exceptional staff online or at (515) 386-2114.