- Muscle pull and strain
- Sprained ankle
- Shoulder injury
- Knee injuries
- Shin splint
- Wrist sprain or dislocation
Preventing Workout Injuries
There are simple steps that can help keep you injury-free during your workout.
But first, pay attention to this general rule. If you’re a woman over age 55, check with your health care professional before you start an exercise program. Then you’ll be sure you’re healthy enough for working out. The same applies to a man over age 45 or a person with any medical condition.
Here are guidelines for avoiding injuries during your workout:
Warm-up and cool-down. Every workout should begin with a warm-up and end with a cool-down period. A warm-up helps your body get ready for exercise. It gradually increases your heart rate and loosens your muscles and joints. Some ways to warm up:
- Ride an exercise bike
- Jump rope
- Jog in place for 5 to 10 minutes
A cool-down after you work out is important to slowly bring your heart rate back to normal. Walking for 5 to 10 minutes after you work out is one way to cool down.
Stretch. Do dynamic stretching before and after you work out. This will help increase flexibility. Research is conflicting as to whether it can also help prevent injury, It’s best to stretch after you warm up and cool down.
Ease into it. When you begin an exercise routine or start a new workout program, start slowly. Then gradually build up the intensity, duration, and frequency.
Don’t push yourself too hard. As your fitness abilities increase, you will be able to challenge yourself more.
Cross-train. Vary your workout. Don’t overuse one set of muscles. Repeating the same muscle movements frequently can lead to overuse and repetitive-use injuries such as shin splints and tendinitis. Some ways to vary your workout:
- Run on Day One.
- Lift weights on Day Two.
- Swim or cycle on Day Three.
- 8 ounces about 20 to 30 minutes before working out
- 8 ounces every 10 to 20 minutes during your workout
- 8 ounces within a half hour of when your workout is done
Eat a small meal or snack every 2 to 3 hours to keep a steady source of fuel for your body. After your workout, eat a healthy carb and protein snack to replenish your energy stores.
See a trainer. Before starting a weightlifting or exercise routine, meet with a trainer. He or she can show you how to work out correctly. The trainer will help you create a safe and realistic exercise program.
Dress right. Wear the proper gear for your workout. If you are a runner, wear a good pair of running shoes that fit properly. If you are a biker, always wear a helmet.
Rest. Take 1 to 2 days off a week to rest. Rest days give your body a chance to recover between workouts. That can help prevent injuries.
Treating Workout Injuries
Injuries can happen, no matter how careful you are. If you develop a workout injury, follow the RICE method to keep your injury from getting worse:
- R: Rest the injury.
- I: Ice the injury to lessen swelling, bleeding, and inflammation.
- C: Apply a compression bandage to minimize swelling.
- E: Elevate the injury, if possible, to reduce swelling.