Abby Drexler is a contributing writer and media specialist on behalf of Texas Orthopedics. She was a graduate of the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.
Whether you are getting back in shape to lose weight or you just want to be healthier, it is essential to take steps to stay safe and prevent injury. Things like warming up, choosing the right gear, utilizing a personal trainer, eating a balanced diet, and getting enough rest can go a long way in preventing injury while you restart your fitness journey.
Getting back into shape? How to prevent injury
Fitness goals always come up in one or two conversations that we have daily, be it with friends or workplaces. Are you trying to get back into shape after long periods of resting and eating without a definite diet plan? Whether you were exercising before or attempting to work out for the first time, you are vulnerable to injuries. These injuries mainly apply to adults who, with old age, become less agile. Therefore, it is essential to avoid injuries so you can keep moving closer to your fitness goals and get back to the shape that you strongly desire. Here's how you can prevent injuries during exercises.
Do a warm-up
Ever wondered why before any activity, whether sporting or just at your local gym, the instructor is always keen about warming up? Generally, cold muscles are more injury-prone. Doing a warm-up increases the blood flow to your cold working muscles and reduces their stiffness. This process, in turn, potentially lowers the risk of injury. Furthermore, a proper warm-up prepares you for your work out mentally and gives you the necessary psych to participate in the various workouts.
At Athlete Training + Health (ATH), we utilize a structured warm-up to start off all classes based around the RAMP principle, which stands for: Raise, Activate, Mobilize and Potentiate. This helps to warm our athletes up, enhances performance, and as previously mentioned, helps prevent injury.
Chris Slocum, ATH Regional Athletic Performance Director, says "To get the most out of your training session take the time to warm up. Warming up helps to prevent injuries by loosening up joints, priming tendons, ligaments and muscles, and increases blood flow throughout the whole body. Being able to have your body primed during the warm-up will have you not only physically ready, but mentally ready to handle each training session.”
Choose the proper gear
Imagine making lunges with the wrong type of sneakers to have your feet sliding to maximum and having them pressed and sore for the rest of the workout session. The fact that this specific pair of shoes helped when you did a couple of exercises a while back doesn't mean they are still in perfect condition for your new journey. Make sure you analyze them and, if need be, get another pair. However, don't just go to the shop to pick your casual go-to and good looking shoes. Look for specialists who will gauge the kind of shoes perfect for your feet. These specialized shoes will help you avoid injuries.
Get a personal trainer
No one sees the areas you need to work on as much as a second party specialist. Sometimes you have the urge to get back to shape, but you have no idea where to start. Are you finding it hard to figure out what exercises your body needs? Is it because initially you were working on your legs, but this time around, you're working on your upper body? A coach who will monitor your body and come up with a good workout schedule for you is all you need. The personal trainer will ensure that even as you attempt to get back in shape, you don't strain too much to the extent of experiencing specific injuries. You might even end up getting a bonus aerobic exertion!
If personal training isn’t for you, you can also join group training classes at your local gym. ATH’s expert coaches lead small group training sessions (with strict distancing and disinfecting protocols to keep you safe) utilizing the latest findings in scientific research on human performance. You won’t find more educated coaches, dedicated to helping you achieve your goals. You’ll also receive an evaluation at the start of your training and throughout your program to help monitor and track your progress.
Have a gradual start
Waking up one day and deciding to lift 80kg dumbbells is quite absurd. Are you applying all that effort to get back in shape? Why not start slowly with the simple workouts that your body can accommodate. The most significant risk of injury comes with jumping into a new exercise program that your body can't handle. If you're working out for the first time or after a long time, start slowly. Do minimum speeds as well as weights. Don't sprint on that treadmill like you've been to the Olympics before. When you feel you're ready, increase the speed.
“As one of the foundational principles of exercise science,” notes Slocum, “progressive overload is a safe way to introduce the body to new training stressors. Once the body becomes accustomed to the demands of the training, then you will be able to increase that stress overtime. Take your time, be patient and stick to the plan!”
Eat a balanced diet
Once you choose to be on that line of getting back to shape, be sure that you will be required to forfeit certain eating habits. Your body reacts to what you feed it. While working out, you should be keen on the foodstuffs you eat. For instance, proteins give your muscles the repair they need while carbohydrates give you the energy you need during your workout sessions. Going to the gym with an empty stomach and a frail body isn't the best decision a fitness enthusiast can ever make. Weakness will only limit your potential and make everything exerting force on your body a potential cause of injury. Who wants to do fifteen squats to collapse on your way up? A balanced diet is vital in maintaining your shape and strength.
Have enough rest
It is necessary knowledge that nothing comes easy and fast. When it comes fast, you might as well start forgetting it as it will not last. Listen to your body when it needs to get some rest and recover. Body parts get tired and sore. It is with enough attention and the right treatment that they get to recover. If you are always tired and you find it hard to do anything the next day, then that rest is probably what your body needs. Remember, straining your body places you at a high risk of suffering various injuries.
Do you have a plan to get back in shape already? Be sure to incorporate the above tips as they will help you a great deal in accomplishing your fitness goals. Remember, if you are doing this for the first time, the physician's office should be your next stop.