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Basic Injury Prevention Concepts

For any individual who is physically active, there is a
possibility of sustaining an injury. While some injuries, such as an ankle
sprain or fracture, are difficult to prevent, many other injuries are preventable.
By following a few simple guidelines, injuries such as muscle strains,
tendonitis and overuse injuries can be reduced.

Every workout must begin with a warm-up and end with a
cool-down. A warm-up is necessary to prepare the body for exercise by
increasing heart rate and blood flow to working muscles. The warm-up should
start slow and easy and consist of a general cardiovascular exercise such as
walking, jogging or biking. The goal is to break a sweat. After five to 10
minutes, the warm-up should focus on muscles and movements more specific to the
exercise activity planned. Creating a smooth transition from the warm-up to a
specific activity is a great way to prevent injuries.

Flexibility is absolutely a part of every good warm-up. Once
the muscles are warm, they become more elastic and are ready to be stretched.
Whether you choose to perform static stretches (by holding each position for
10-30 seconds) or perform dynamic stretches (by moving the body through a
functional range of motion) flexibility prepares the muscles, tendons and
joints for work by allowing them to move freely through a full active range of
motion. The more prepared the body is, the less likely it is to get injured.

An area that often gets ignored is the cool-down after activity.
Just as the warm-up prepares the body for work, the cool down brings it back to
its normal state. Time spent performing five to 10 minutes of low-intensity
cardiovascular activity followed by stretching immediately after the workout
will decrease muscle soreness and aid in recovery, both helping to prepare the
body for the next workout.

Once an exercise program is developed, there are a few
things to remember. Start slow: people often jump right into a workout and do
too much too fast, creating excessive muscle soreness and tightness. Proper
progression is the key to preventing injuries. Slowly increase the amount of
time of each workout, the intensity of the workout and the resistance of the
weights. A 5-percent increase as the exercise becomes too easy is a safe
progression. Exercise at a level that is appropriate for their age and their
fitness level. The same can be true for a weekend warrior athlete who jumps
into a game with athletes who have trained throughout the week. If equipment is
involved in their exercise program, take the time to ensure you have the proper
equipment, that it fits correctly and that it meets safety standards. Too
often, old, faulty or improperly fitted equipment, such as footwear can cause
injuries.

One of the best ways to prevent injury is to listen to the
warning signs the body tells you. By ignoring little aches and pains
in joints and muscles, a more serious injury could develop. Pain is the body’s
way of telling you something is not right! The common expression “no pain, no
gain” creates a large misconception. It is very possible to make cardiovascular
and strength gains in your workout routine without causing pain. If your body
is tired or too sore from the previous workout, take a day off, cross-train
or train the session at a much lower intensity. It is important to add variety
to every exercise routine to prevent repetitive, overuse injuries. By switching
from running to biking, aerobics to weight lifting, or swimming to spinning,
muscles and joints that are worked repetitively during their normal routine
will get a break while challenging other parts of the body.

 Rest is a critical component to any good workout routine and
time spent allowing the body to recover is a great way to prevent injuries. A
rest day must occur at least one to two times per week. Even small breaks
during a workout are sometimes required to get the most out of the workout and
prevent injuries.

 A healthy, well-balanced diet can aid in injury prevention
as well. A poor diet can lead to muscle weakness, decreased muscle strength and
endurance. Equally important is maintaining hydration throughout the day,
during and after their workout. A body with adequate fuel (food and water) will
stay sharp and keep moving at the intensity their desire.

 

Following the simple guidelines listed above will help keep
you injury-free and focused on your workout goals.

 

Rob Boyce   B.S. CPT,
ACSM, ASFA

FITNESS MANAGER

EQUINOX

November 3, 2013 | Blog, Uncategorized | 0
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