1. Warm Up.
A good warm-up before your workout can be very beneficial. “Warming up” literally warms up your body temperature and increases your heart rate, increasing blood flow to your muscles. This can help in preventing injuries and lessening muscle soreness. Try using the same muscles you plan to use in your main exercise in your warm-up.
2. Wear Proper Footwear.
Running shoes, cross trainers, cleats, hiking boots — there is a shoe for almost every type of exercise! Whether you are running on a treadmill or playing a sport, wearing the correct type of shoe with proper support will make you more comfortable and help keep you injury-free. Need a new pair of shoes for your workout? Fleet Feet in Des Moines has tons of options for every footwear need!
3. Listen To Your Body.
Your body is the best indicator in making sure you’re not overexerting yourself. If something starts to hurt— stop! It is better to have a rest day than keep causing more pain. If you ever experience any joint pain or get injured, consider visiting one of our walk-in Urgent Injury Clinics in Ankeny or West Des Moines, or schedule an appointment with one of our providers.
4. Mix Up Your Routine.
Working the same muscles and joints over and over can strain them and lead to injury. Instead, try incorporating various exercises that target different parts of your body. Alternate the more strenuous workouts with lighter workouts. Day by day, mix up your routine by trying something new such as biking, weight lifting, CrossFit, yoga, or swimming!
5. Prioritize Nutrition.
Nutrition and exercise go hand in hand. Eating a nutritious, well-balanced diet consisting of adequate amounts of protein, fat, and carbohydrates can counter the negative impact of an exercise-induced injury. Eating quality, whole foods full of nutrients can help your body build strong defense against muscle strains and tears and help you recover faster. You know what they say, an apple a day keeps the doctor away!
Hydration is just as important as a healthy diet. Dehydration contributes to muscle fatigue which increases the risk of injury. Being hydrated can help cushion your joints and regulate your body temperature. Especially as the warmer months are approaching, remember that you can lose a lot of water through sweat. Try swapping out sugary drinks for water to lessen the risk of inflammation and keep your body hydrated.
7. Concentrate on Proper Form.
Simple exercises such as squats or bicep curls can cause serious injury if you aren’t using the correct form. You want to build your muscles, not strain or injure them. If you’re not sure if you have correct form, ask a trainer at your gym for help. If you work out at home, search on YouTube for videos on correct posture for the exercise you are doing. By focusing on proper form, you will maximize your workout and minimize your risk of injury.
8. Cool Down.
This part of a workout is often overlooked and forgotten about. Cooling down helps bring your muscles back down to their resting state. Cooling down helps prepare your body for your next workout by decreasing delayed onset muscle soreness, and reducing lactic acid buildup. Adding a 5-10 minute cool down is the perfect way to end your next workout and reduce your risk of muscle cramps or stiffness.
9. Rest & Recover.
As important as it is to exercise, it’s also so important to let your body recover. Consider adding rest days to your weekly workout regimen to relieve stress on your joints and muscles. Also, ask yourself if you’re getting enough sleep at night. Sleep is when our bodies are able to build and repair muscles, so it’s best to aim for at least 7 hours of sleep each night.
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