If you are something of a gym bunny and you find yourself tearing a muscle every couple of months, you push it too hard on the treadmill or you do one too many bicep curls every now and then, the chances are that you have a whole host of niggles that are ever present. These injuries can have a real impact on the quality of your workouts, and may even prevent you from hitting your Zumba class or working out with your pal. To prevent injuries from happening you need to listen to your body and be aware of how to exercise responsibly. You might want to have a go at that one extra chin up, but what is the point if the result will leave you out of action for a couple of weeks?
As you grow older, injuries are more likely to occur if you aren’t mindful at the gym, and your recovery time will increase. This is a natural side effect of aging and has very little to do with how fit you are. If you are keen to stop falling foul of the little aches and niggles, read on to find out how you can banish the gym injuries forever.
1. Know Your Limits
There’s nothing wrong with having fitness goals. Perhaps you want to hit a certain weight on the bench press or you want to run a 5k in record time on the treadmill. However, when you have set yourself these goals, make sure that you set out to achieve them in a measured and responsible way. Give yourself time and set up a fitness plan over the course of eight weeks. This way, you won’t be hitting the gym in a haphazard way and pushing your limits too quickly. You need to gradually increase your speed, weight or activity levels to ensure that your body can cope with any added stress. Go too fast and you could find yourself with a muscle or ligament injury that sets you back weeks and can prevent you from ever hitting your fitness goals.
2. Acknowledge Pain
If you do feel pain at any point, stop. Don’t be a martyr and try to run through the pain or continue doing those tricep dips. Stop what you are doing, stretch and head home for an ice bath or a hot compress. If the pain continues, you must be proactive and look into orthopedic physical therapy to help your recovery time decrease. With specialist treatment from a team of professionals, you will find your recovery time shortening helping you to get back in the gym faster. They will also advise you about how to avoid the same injury again so listen to them and head to the gym with a renewed focus on preventing those niggles.
3. Warm Up And Cool Down
It’s surprising just how many people hot foot it to the gym to head straight on the treadmill to pound out 5k in half an hour. This can lead to shin splints and muscle pain. You will also feel it the following day because you won’t have given your muscles enough time to warm up before you put them through their paces. Instead, you need to stretch and warm up. Follow a short routine of stretching and warming up every muscle group starting from your head and neck down to your feet. Having a warm body means that your muscles, tendons and ligaments are then ready for exercise. The same goes for warming down. Don’t warm up and then hit a particularly energetic spin class to then hop off the bike and head straight home. Get yourself a mat, head to the floor and do some stretches to cool down. This prevents your muscles from going into shock, twitching and tearing.
4. Do Yoga
Practice yoga and you will find yourself becoming more supple and your muscles will become more flexible and healthier. Having this increased flexibility means that you can test your muscles more, you may be able to see the strength in your muscles faster, and your recovery time from any injuries that you may sustain will be faster.
Yoga isn’t just great for your physical health, but it also has a positive impact on your mental well being. You can be sure of learning breathing techniques to help focus your mind and channel your energies into a positive way of thinking. This can help when you have a fitness goal in mind. Your motivation will increase and you will be more eager to see it through.