Starting your fitness journey can be extremely exhilarating, however it is incredibly important to keep injury prevention and proper injury management in your mind to ensure longevity and success.
Today, we are going to take a look into the vital aspects that come along with preventing injuries and managing them, offering expert insight and actionable advice to keep you safe and let you thrive on your health and wellness adventure.
Understanding Injury Prevention:
The first step to making sure that your body stays whole and healthy is having a base understanding of injury prevention and what you can do to prevent issues before they even start.
Here are a few things to consider in regards to staying on the right path.
Every training session should start with warming your body up. This can be a dynamic warm-up that elevates your heart rate to prepare your muscles and joints for the training ahead or lighter reps of the starter movement to prime you and get you ready.
We personally will do a quick 5-20 minute walk to get our body ready for all of our lifting movements, followed by the main movement on the day to help keep us warm.
A warm-up should be designed for you and by you, but doesn't need to be perfect. Have fun with it and make sure that your body is ready to receive the training program.
Instead of jumping straight to seeing how much weight or training that your body can handle, we recommend taking a look into progressive overload.
This is a gradual increase in the intensity, duration or frequency of your training to allow your body to adapt. This can happen over weeks, months or even years, but will keep you growing and gaining for the rest of your life.
Another added bonus is that since tendons and ligaments take a longer time to strengthen when compared to muscles, they will adapt and grow more resilient and less likely to be injured over time.
Form and Technique:
Another incredibly well tread way to prevent injury is ensuring that you have proper form or technique when lifting weights and using different machines.
One thing to note when it comes to form is that 'perfect' form varies from person to person due to how each individual body is built. If you are taller, have longer legs, or a medium torso, all of this affects how you use machines and how your body movies through your lifting.
Exercise Safety Measures:
We get it, you want to be comfortable when you train, and in fact we agree. However, you need to make sure that what you have on your feet is appropriate for the movements that you will be doing.
Proper footwear will provide support and cushioning for your training. If you are squatting/deadlifting a shoe that doesn't have a comparable sole is highly recommended as this can lead to an instable surface to support yourself. On the other hand if you are running you want to make sure that your shoe provides some cushioning and rebound to keep your knees and joints safe.
These suggestions aren't hard and fast obviously and a cross training shoe is another way to be versatile in the gym, but we recommend researching different shoes and see what fits best.
Listen to Your Body:
One of the most obvious safety measures is to listen to your body and learn the difference between being uncomfortable and being painful/wrong.
If you push through pain, it can exacerbate different injuries. When injured it is recommended that you either modify what you are working on or stop the exercises that are causing your pain/discomfort if needed
Dr. Emily Thompson, a sports medicine specialist, emphasizes injury prevention: "Injury prevention starts with understanding your body's limits and gradually challenging them. Incorporate variety into your routine and prioritize rest to optimize your fitness journey."
[Source: Interview with Dr. Emily Thompson, Sports Medicine Specialist.]
Managing Workout Injuries:
If you do get hurt in the gym and need to work around whats going on, here are our recommendations on how to heal.
The original RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) protocol is a bit outdated, but does offer a good starting point.
While the rest, compression and elevation are good to help accelerate healing and alleviating pain, the ice portion is a bit off. Ice forces blood away from the injury, which reduces swelling, but also restricts your blood vessels from bringing injury healing nutrients from where they are needed most.
If you are able to stand it, we recommend a heating pad to the injured area instead.
As always we recommend that you consult a medical professional if you experience persistent pain or suspect an injury. Prompt diagnosis and treatment are crucial in reducing the time you are down and out from the gym.
This includes going to a doctor, physical therapist or any other sports medicine/specialist that you trust your body to.
It is integral to prevent and manage injuries while lifting to create a sustainable and fulfilling wellness journey.
By creating and adhering to a good warm-up routine, making sure you take the proper steps to stay safe, and listening to expert advice, you can greatly reduce the chance of injuries happening to you.
As always, listen to your body, research deeper into the professional guidance and allow time for your body to recover.
Health and wellness are a marathon, not a sprint (unless you are actually sprinting) and injuries come with the territory. Remember to give yourself grace when it comes to keeping your body healthy and recovering from potential issues.