Sunday, July 24, 2011

Lessen Your Chance For Injury

Before beginning any new exercise, task or job, it's strongly recommended to understand what the safety precautions are associated with it.  We each have our own unique physical limitations.  Safe exercise and workout habits are your responsibility.  So before you begin your journey to health and fitness through proper exercise and nutrition, I'd like to recommend some safety rules that are for your benefit that will lessen your chance of injury.

Warm up.  Prior to any of my workouts, I  have about a 5 minute warm up and stretch.  If you start exercising with cold, stiff muscles, you are more prone to injury.  In the video link above you can see that I start out with running in place, jumping jacks, skip rope and then some slow and gentle stretching of muscles.  Once you feel sufficiently warm, you may even have a light sweat after the warm up and heavier breathing, then it's safe to say you can bring it to your workout. The same holds true for cooling down following a workout. 

Don't overdo it!  When first starting out, your level of fitness will limit your level of intensity and duration.  Don't put out 100% in the beginning, but rather gradually increase the intensity and length of the workout.  Listen to your body and adapt it by modifying moves if necessary.  The harder you train, the closer you will come to the point where you could be injured.  So, don't try to workout at a warrior level when you're a beginner.  There's no shame or guilt when something doesn't feel right and you need to stop to avoid possible injury.

Exercise daily.  Our busy lifestyles often seem to get in the way of our desire for physical activity and you may find yourself trying to be a weekend warrior.  If you want to increase your fitness level, you're going to need more than just a couple of days a week.  This is just setting yourself up for trouble.  If you can't fit in 30-60 minutes of exercise daily, then break it down into smaller blocks of time throughout the day when possible.  Regular, consistent workout routines will keep your body from slumping back and making it more prone to sustain an injury.  

The right tool for the job.  Investing in good exercise equipment is crucial to your safety.  There are also many good workout programs to follow that provide you with proper instruction from an experienced coach and trainer.  You do not need to go to the gym for this level of expertise.  Maintaining proper form when working out is critical to staying healthy and preventing injury.  Using proper form and technique will lessen the chance of developing an injury.  Make sure you have proper footwear and clothing that doesn't interfere with your moves.   

Accommodate your body.  We're not getting any younger and we probably don't have the same flexibility that we once did.  For many people, physical activity that was once pleasurable is now a struggle or even painful.  So it is important to listen to your body to prevent injury.  Tone down your activity if you need to so your are not in discomfort.  Exercise on the side of caution.  You want to be a little outside of your comfort zone, but train smart! There are times to push hard and times to back off.  Stay in control of your body at all times. If at anytime you feel pain in a body part as a result of activity, rest or reduce your activity.  This will help you avoid more serious problems both short and long-term.  

Incorporate variety.  If you focus on just one aspect of your fitness, you'll likely get bored and increase your risk of injury.  There are many benefits to a balanced fitness program.  So look for a routine that offers a little bit of everything, such as cardiovascular exercise, strength training and flexibility.  Variety in your exercises will also prevent your body from adapting and reaching a plateau.  More balance leads to longer growth and reduced chance of injury. 

Take a Recovery Supplement.  Your body needs nutrients like Amino acids and carbohydrates to help speed recovery after an intense workout.  Your muscles will thank you for it by helping them to repair.  Every time you train, your glycogen stores are depleted, muscle protein is dismantled, microscopic tears in muscle fibre occur, energy-producing compounds are lost from cells, electrolytes diminish and disease-causing free radicals proliferate.  Following your workout, your body is literally thirsting for nutrition. A recovery supplement will give you greater energy, feel less fatigue, increase your muscle development and have stronger immunity.  It will help you heal faster and greatly reduce your soreness and the risk of injury.  The critical time period for such a drink is within the first hour after your workout.  There are hundreds of recovery drinks on the market.

Get proper rest and sleep.  This is critical to healing muscles following physical activity.  Lack of sleep leads to possible injury.  Working out tired leads to all kinds of issues that are completely preventable.  Sleep, it does your body good!

Eat healthy to heal!  Nutrition is critical to your sustained health and injury prevention.  It's very important to select high quality lean protein that helps to repair muscle and tissue. If you're not getting the proper nutrients through your diet, you are more prone to hurt your body when putting it through rigorous exercise.  You may also want to consider a multi-vitamin/mineral supplement to help you recover from your workouts and supply the nutrients lacking in your food that your body needs to heal and be healthy. 

People of all ages and physical conditions can benefit from exercise and physical activity. But playing it smart by following the guidelines and tips that I blogged about today will help you to exercise safely and enjoy a higher quality of life free of pain and injury.

It's never too late to start changing bad habits, habits that can shave years off your life and impact the quality of your life.   So, if you want the straight dope on fueling your body with nutritious food and what to avoid, I'm here to help and it won't cost you a penny for the free advice based on my own experience and what has worked for me.  I hope you'll follow my blog and provide me with some feedback on my posts.  I'll be catering good choices that include both dietary and lifestyle changes.  So if you could use a boost to your engine, buckle up for the ride of your life and let's get started!

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