Regular exercise is important in your daily life. If done correctly and consistently, you will enjoy various benefits such as higher energy levels, stronger muscles, and better weight management.
While exercise has physical benefits, it comes with its own set of risks.
Whether you’re a weekend workout warrior or a seasoned fitness enthusiast, anyone can suffer a workout injury that could keep you out for days or weeks at a time – you don’t want that to happen, do you?
In fact, one study showed that over 14,000 people nationwide were treated in A&E departments for injuries sustained from sport, exercise, or recreational activities – a lot!
Even after receiving medical treatment and being able to return to physical activity, the effects of an injury can last for years.
Torn cartilage and strained ligaments are two injuries that are common in physically active people. And, these have been found to contribute to the development of arthritis.
In this article, we list 9 of the most effective ways to help you perform safe and accident-free exercise to avoid injury.
9 safe exercise guidelines to follow
1. Don’t forget to warm up and cool down
If you’re just starting to build a lean and fit physique, you can’t help but feel overly enthusiastic about starting your reps and sets.
But catch your problem! Because jumping straight into your workout routine can lead to disaster – which is why it’s important to warm up and relax your muscles before training.
Cold muscles are less flexible and more likely to tear, which can easily derail your workout plan.
Make sure you spend 5 to 10 minutes slowly stretching and warming up – don’t rush! This helps to increase blood flow to the muscles, reducing stiffness and lowering the risk of injury.
After your workout, do some relaxing stretches to gradually loosen up your muscles. This also helps to bring your heart rate and body temperature back to normal.
2. Know your limits
The last thing you need to do is to know your physical fitness during your workout.
Just because you were able to do intense exercise last month doesn’t necessarily mean you can do it today.
Start slowly and set realistic goals, especially if you’re just starting out or trying a new fitness regime.
It’s always a good idea to build up your training goals gradually, rather than pushing yourself too hard in one day. There’s no need to rush!
3. Vary your exercises
Doing the same workout day after day can become boring – it can also lead to the overuse of specific muscle groups.
Doing the exact same routine every day can also make you feel overconfident, which can cause you to lose focus when you’re sweating profusely.
Changing your workout routine from time to time can help you target more muscle groups, thus reducing the risk of overuse. This also provides you with a well-rounded workout to improve your physique and overall strength.
4. Learn correct form
Poor training form can lead to serious injuries that can hinder your fitness progress.
If you are trying a new exercise programme, it is always worth taking the time to learn the proper technique.
You may want to consider seeking professional help in the first few sessions to ensure you develop the correct exercise form.
It is also important to keep track of your body alignment during your workouts.
When you feel tired, you may tend to ignore your form just to finish the last few repetitions. Once your workout feels too tedious to complete using the correct technique, it is better to do fewer reps than to injure yourself.
Always prioritise doing the correct form rather than focusing on the number of reps you do.
5. Eat right!
Not eating before exercise is like driving a car without gas. Eating the right foods at least 2 hours before your workout will help replenish your energy reserves and allow you to exercise at a high level of endurance and stamina.
During your workout, you may want to eat some bananas, fruit, nut bars, or dried fruit to keep your energy levels high.
After your workout, you will also need to supplement your body with the right nutrients to build muscle and replenish your energy reserves. Eat plenty of protein-rich foods or drink a post-workout shake to help you recover from your workout.
If you are a lean person who wants to build muscle, drinking a muscle builder after your workout can help you achieve the muscular physique you have always wanted.
6. Stay hydrated!
Whenever you exercise, you sweat and perspire – causing your body to lose water and the electrolytes that are essential for proper muscle function.
Replacing lost fluids during exercise is vital to prevent yourself from becoming dehydrated and prematurely exhausted.
Try replenishing about 16 ounces of water 2 hours before your workout. Keep a bottle of water within easy reach so you can rehydrate from time to time during your workout.
After your workout, drink another 16 ounces of water to help cool you down and replenish your fluids. If you feel a little dizzy at the end of your workout, drink some saltwater to help your body with the electrolytes you lost from exercise. This is essential.
7. Wear the right clothes
As well as making you look good, the clothes you wear for exercise can help you avoid injury or hurt.
Wearing ill-fitting shoes or baggy clothes can cause you to trip or lose your footing during your workout.
Wear comfortable, form-fitting clothing that won’t impede your movement. As a general rule, avoid wearing clothing that hinders your training activities.
If you are working out in the hot sun, wearing clothes made of breathable fabrics will help keep your body cooler for longer.
8. Know when to stop
It’s normal to feel unwell during exercise. However, your exercise sessions should never be designed to punish your body and deliberately seek out pain.
If you feel unbearable pain, it may be an indication that you are doing something wrong or that your body is not ready for that level of exercise.
Take a break and assess the possible causes of the pain. You can then decide to make adjustments to the form or take a break.
Instead of risking injury, take a break from the workout that is causing the pain.
If you experience frequent pain during training, do not hesitate to seek advice from a trainer or health professional.
9. Give your body plenty of rest
Muscles grow when you rest, not when you exercise.
Exercising every day can be counterproductive as it can overwork your muscles and joints, causing soreness, pain, or stiffness.
Giving your body plenty of rest helps your muscles and joints recover from exercise – allowing you to get up the next day with increased strength and resilience.
Regular rest should be part of your fitness regime as it prevents you from pushing your muscles too hard, which could eventually lead to injury or hurt.
In order to achieve your fitness goals, you need to be in top form every day.
This means taking care of yourself and being aware of situations that can put your body at risk when you exercise.
With these 9 tips, you can work out smarter and take full advantage of your workout by training in the safest way possible. Why not head to the gym today and start making a habit of these tips?