How can you prevent injuries in the gym and during sports activities?

We are a nation of sport lovers. Whether we are invested in a football or rugby match or watching the Olympics on tenterhooks, we love the excitement and the competitiveness a great game or sporting event can bring.

Just like our sports heroes take extra care to avoid injury, we do too. However, no matter how much we brace ourselves before lifting weights in the gym, or take the time to stretch before having a kick-about in our local park, injuries can still occur.

Regular exercise is fantastic for your health and mental well-being, and with a little planning, you can prevent injury and stay safe during all forms of exercise.

Staying safe in the gym

What are some of the most common causes of exercise injuries in this environment?

  • Exercising before your body has warmed up.
  • Repeating the same motion too many times.
  • Not having proper form for your exercise.
  • Not resting in between workouts.
  • Pushing your body too hard or too quickly.
  • Doing an exercise that is too strenuous for your level of fitness.
  • Not using proper equipment.

How can you avoid gym related injuries?

  • Warming up before you exercise will help to get your blood flowing and your muscles limbered up. It is a good idea to start your gym session with some light cardio. On the treadmill, walk slowly for the first few minutes, then pick up the pace and move into a brisk walk for 5 to 10 minutes. Follow this with some gentle stretches that you hold for 15-30 seconds, as well as some mobility exercises. This link has some good stretches:
  • If you are new to exercise, it is advisable to talk to a personal trainer or a health care provider to find out what types of exercise might be best for you.
  • Ensure you are using good form. E.G Keep your back straight and abs tight before lifting weights, perform reps in a slow and controlled manner, and always avoid ego lifting.
  • At the end of your workout, get back on the treadmill for 5 or 10 minutes and engage in a cooling-down, slow, walk to help lower your heart rate.

Staying safe outside of the gym

Playing sports is a lot of fun and a great way to socialise with friends and loved ones. 

How can you avoid injuries related to sporting activities?

  • Always ensure you’re correctly using any equipment and wearing necessary protective gear, such as helmets. And make sure they fit you properly.
  • Warm up and cool down.
  • Know the rules of the game.
  • Watch out for others.
  • If you’re looking to build strength and stamina, you will need to push your body, but it is vital that you push slowly and gradually. You can expect sore muscles after engaging in any type of exercise, but you should never feel pain when exercising. If you do feel pain, stop right away.

It’s normal for your mind and body to feel a little tired after a good training or sporting session, however, feeling extremely fatigued all the time can be a sign that you may be overdoing it. If you attempt to push on in the gym or with your favourite sport when you feel this way, you will be heading straight towards an extreme injury, which you definitely don’t want.

When you’re feeling tired, assess the following and adjust them accordingly:

  • The number of days you exercise.
  • The length of time you exercise.
  • How hard you work out.

If you’re still incurring injuries after taking the above tips into consideration, please get in touch with me to book in your complimentary consultation at the Enfield Osteopathic Clinic.

We will be able to assess your body and provide the appropriate treatments needed to release tension in your body and get you moving around as normal.

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