How To Avoid Injuries When Starting A Fitness Routine
Now that spring weather is here, you may be looking to re-start your exercise program or commit to getting in shape. As you’re eager to jump into your new workout routine and start seeing results, be sure that a workout injury doesn’t get you off course of your plans to improve your health. The human body is capable of adapting to an increase in work and intensity, but don’t do too much too soon if you’re just starting out.
As many like to get outside and enjoy the fresh air with running, biking, walking, or any other fitness activity, make sure you listen to your body and slowly increase the duration and intensity of your workout.
Your body is part of a kinetic chain that is affected by the linked joints, including the foot/ankle, knee, hip, and the spine on up. Alterations in any of these joints can dramatically affect movement and increase stress and injury at any another joint along the way, like a domino effect of problems on the other joints.
If you’re unsure about your health or have a medical condition, be sure to check with your doctor before starting an exercise program. Your doctor can help recommend an exercise program that is safe and effective for you.
Pay attention during exercising to weakness, feeling light-headed, extreme shortness of breath, or sharp pain. This is your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong and you should stop the activity. When you push through acute pain, you may develop a severe injury.
If you have sharp pain that persists after a workout, throbbing pain when at rest, or pain during the night that keeps you awake, all of these can be a sign of something more serious that you should get checked by a physician.
There’s a difference between sharp pain and sore muscles. It’s normal to have sore muscles after you do a physical activity that you’re muscles are not used to, like when you start a new sports or exercise. When you’re doing any fitness activity, you’re causing tiny tears in the connective tissue and muscle fibers, which causes you to feel sore. Then your muscles will be recovering for the next 48 hours and will gradually feel better.
Then as you do more activity, your muscles will get used to being active. You will gradually have less soreness because you’ll have strengthened the muscle and connective tissue. That’s when it’s time to change it up a bit by increasing the duration and intensity of your fitness activity, just to start this process all over again. Keep in mind, this is what makes your muscles stronger and will help you in your everyday functional activities.
- Warm-up before you exercise and be sure to allow time for stretching after your workout.
- Don’t work through sharp pain – know when it’s time stop the activity and when you need to see the doctor.
Wear the proper shoes for the fitness activity you’re participating in (if you’re running make sure you have a good running shoe, if you’re cross training, make sure you have a shoe with that kind of support, for soccer, and so on). This includes using appropriate safety equipment for your fitness activity.
Our joints need to move to get nutrition – a safe weight-bearing exercise program is a great way to help strengthen the muscles that support your joints.
- Don’t over-train – your body needs time to rest in between workout sessions.
- Ice your muscles/tissues when needed.
- Don’t skip breakfast or any meal during the day – eating a healthy meal will jump-start your metabolism and provide you with the energy and fuel you need to get through your fitness activity. Also, drink plenty of water before, during and after your workouts.
- Get a good sleep often – this will give you the energy you need to focus on your exercises.
- If you haven’t exercised in years or you’re just starting out as a first-timer, start with a shorter duration of exercise, then look to increase as you get better. Always start slow.
- Don’t compare yourself to others and feel you have to “keep up” – everyone is unique and will have their own pace they’re working at. Do what is safe for you.
If you have problems with certain joints or just don’t know where to start, try working with a Certified Personal Trainer, like myself at Time For Change Personal Training. I can assist you with a specialized exercise program that is specific for you and your body.
I’ll have you perform certain movements and observe what muscles and joints need help by identifying potential issues and finding the safe way to correct them. I’ll also show you how to exercise safely and maintain good posture when working out as to prevent injuries.
If you’re looking to avoid injuries when starting a fitness routine, see how Time For Change Personal Training Services can help you get started on the right track today, I’m here to help!